The Next Digital Revolution
It’s been less than a decade since the full-contour tsunami hit the industry and a mere 15 years since the introduction of millable materials began the rapid transformation of dental technology from a purely analog process to one dependent on digitally driven automated production. For those caught in the storm unaware or with head in sand, the only choice was to join the digital revolution or be left behind. Early adopters had the advantage; late adopters scrambled for whatever market share was left.
We are now on the cusp of digital technology radically revolutionizing another major market segment of the industry—removable prosthetics. As in the fixed arena, penetration of the digital full-arch removable market initially began with three prominent players, Avadent, Dentsply Sirona, and Kulzer, along with their early adopters. However, the landscape is quickly changing. Coming on board this year are new players Amann Girrbach, Ivoclar Vivadent, Roland, Zahn/CMC, and others for advanced CAD design of full and partial prosthetics, new choices in materials, alternative in-house production processes with milling and 3D printing technologies, as well as options to partner with production providers for delivery of final prosthetics. New digital protocols and processes are not only bringing predictability to the most unpredictable of clinical and technical analog processes, but are also reducing the number of patient treatment appointments, saving dentists chairtime, heightening patient treatment acceptance and satisfaction, and creating new profit centers for both the practice and laboratory.
Timing of the digital transition for removable prosthetics could not have come at a more critical point. Highly skilled removable technicians are in high demand but more than difficult to find. The “baby boomer” generation in the US is rapidly aging, with estimates saying that by 2020 more than 48 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and are expected to live another 22 years. The need and demand for partial, conventional, and implant-supported prosthetics to restore function to this population alone are projected to experience significant growth.
Unlike for the fixed side of the industry, the transition from analog to digital processes and production for removable prosthetics will not take a decade to mature and become the standard production process for the industry. We are already in the midst of an explosion of new materials, technologies, and production alternatives. Last year interest was high as dentists and technicians gathered in Scottsdale, AZ, for the first-ever International Digital Denture Symposium to better understand the digital process, the material science, how to get started, and the business side of digital dentures.
Join us this year as Inside Dental Technology hosts the second International Digital Denture Symposium in Baltimore, MD, on October 27-28 at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. A day-and-a-half of general session presentations, clinical and technical user workshops, and panel discussions will leave you with the foundation you need to get involved.
Don’t be left at the end of this adoption curve. Register now at: IDT.CDEWorld.com/events/548 or call 888-596-4605.