New Digital Option Helps Dentist, Technician Provide Better Denture Service
Patient-centric practice finds new way to provide exceptional care
Christopher Silvoy, DMD, worked in a group practice with an in-house laboratory for 13 years before opening his own practice in 2014, so having technicians onsite was a priority for the new business. His previous practice’s in-house laboratory was one of the primary factors that attracted him to work there in 2001, and he built his patient base offering the benefits of a full-service removables laboratory.
Silvoy’s business philosophy is based on the notion that patients are always seeking a better level of care, and with an abundance of talent in dentistry it is necessary to truly differentiate oneself with exceptional work.
“Care needs to be individualized, so I approach every patient as an individual,” Silvoy says. “Everyone gets a top-to-bottom assessment and is treated according to a very specific treatment plan. We have all the best options available, including an onsite laboratory.”
Silvoy’s dedication to premium patient care stems from his initial motivation for becoming a dentist.
“I had an intense desire to get into some form of medicine with which I could use my creativity, engineering, and diagnostic strengths,” he says. “Dentistry was a perfect fit.”
Silvoy works with two technicians, one of whom specializes in fixed and the other in removables. His office frequently sees patients who either need dentures for the first time or need an existing denture replaced.
The ongoing pursuit of better patient care led Silvoy to begin using Amann Girrbach’s Ceramill Full Denture System (FDS) in December 2015.
“We have been using the Ceramill Motion 2 milling machine for all of its other manufacturing capabilities, and with Amann Girrbach offering the denture module, it was a perfect fit for creating an extension of the services that I have offered since 2001, which include onsite denture fabrication, adjustment, and customization—top-level, full prosthodontics care.”
For patients who need an existing denture replaced or duplicated, Silvoy takes a base impression and obtains critical information from that, including midline, occlusal plane, positions of the incisal edge, and positions of the canines.
“Using the scanner and digital software, that information is recorded very definitively,” he says. “If the patient is unhappy with anything about the dentures, we can make notes and we can make adjustments in the software easily. We do not need to take impressions of the denture or guess at where the teeth are positioned.”
For patients who do not have existing prosthetics, the model analysis screen in the software helps to produce a definable occlusion and setup quicker than by traditional methods.
The Amann Girrbach system mills an accurate-fitting wax denture base, and it mills sockets for the denture teeth. The system is designed to work with a commercially available set of anterior and posterior teeth that the machine and software customize to fit those sockets perfectly.
“These denture teeth are consistent, esthetic, and durable,” Silvoy says. “They are still adjustable. When it goes into the patient’s mouth, the wax base can be softened or moved, and we can add or shift teeth, or completely change the teeth if the patient has a problem with the esthetic profile or anything else. Everything at that point is modifiable. The machine requires very little time to customize the teeth to fit into the denture base.”
Once Silvoy and the patient are satisfied, the digital file is sent to the removables technician to fabricate the final acrylic using traditional methodology.
“Laboratories that have processing systems that they are comfortable with can treat this as a conventionally waxed up denture,” Silvoy says, “but it is more accurately set up as far as the occlusal scheme, and the teeth have already been prepared, so less setup time is required to prepare the teeth for processing and adherence of the acrylic.”
Patient feedback, Silvoy says, has been very positive.
“They appreciate the try-in phase as a quality-control step to make sure they get the best possible prosthetic,” he says. “Overall, thanks to the precision of the entire process, the conversion from the try-in to the final denture has been largely uneventful.”
For Silvoy’s practice and the technicians’ private businesses, the efficiency of the process is invaluable.
“We have been able to provide patients with a very high-quality denture prosthetic, and our overhead has stabilized consistently,” Silvoy says. “The cost of the teeth and the wax puck are the same from case to case. The time that is required for a technician to set up a case has been minimized, so we have an economy of technician time as well.”
Silvoy says he expects the system to continue improving in the future, helping him provide even better patient care.
“We have barely started to scratch the surface,” he says. “Eventually, we will be able to use the digital technology to get patients really, really involved in their care.”
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