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Inside Dental Technology
August 2017
Volume 8, Issue 8

Eschewing Price Wars in Favor of High Quality

Scott Mappin and Strategy Milling create a market for precision-milled gold crowns

Scott Mappin founded Strategy Milling on the principle of offering unmatched quality for a particular segment of the market by utilizing processes nobody else used at the time. Five years later, the company now has competition within its space and is looking to continue growing, but Mappin’s business proposition remains the same: Provide the highest level of quality.

Strategy Milling was born after Mappin’s brother, Don Jr., owner of Atlantic Precious Metals, asked him why nobody was milling gold. CAD/CAM precision was lacking in this segment of the market, but it did not seem feasible due to the fact that wasted material is inherent to the milling process. Don Jr. noted that he had a refinery, and Scott developed a business plan to utilize that resource to offer something the market was lacking. Scott diligently researched milling machines before settling on the best ones for his needs, and he developed a proprietary system for producing a gold puck with the ideal density, grain structure, etc, that could be cut.

“Physics will always limit the precision of casting metal, because restorations can warp or develop porosity,” Mappin says. “Nobody thought this could be done, so there was not necessarily a demand for higher-quality gold restorations. We are creating our own demand.”

Five years later, Strategy Milling has established a spot in the market. The company has separated from Atlantic Precious Metals and has replaced refining with a scalable proprietary process to turn metal shavings into pucks. Perhaps the best indication of Mappin’s success is the fact that Strategy Milling is no longer the only company milling gold crowns.

“We appreciate competition because it validated what we were doing,” Mappin says. “The combined marketing will raise awareness of the option of milled precious metals. It is nice when people can have a choice.”

That competition has driven Mappin to double down on his company’s original value proposition: quality. Strategy Milling’s workflow was developed to meet the standards inspired by Mappin’s father, Donald Sr., CDT, an Air Force-trained dental technician.

“I spent so many hours trying to fabricate one crown to what I considered perfection, and these machines produce crowns that fit better and free up people to do other tasks,” Donald Sr. says. “Those efficiencies translate into savings that can be passed on to the customers. I am so proud of what Scott has established.”

Mappin is not finished. Strategy Milling currently offers the only milled PFM alloy in North America and is developing additional alloys to offer more CAD/CAM metal options to its customers. Also, the company recently added hyperDENT CAM software from FOLLOW ME! Technology North America to its workflow.

“We want to separate ourselves from the competition, but we cannot do that by offering the lowest prices,” Mappin says. “We will stay ahead by continually expanding the alloy choices, providing excellent customer service and the highest-quality milling.”

While industry standards typically stop milling at 1-mm tooling, Strategy Milling is developing more refined strategies to provide an even better fit. The hyperDent software will also provide better strategies for carving anatomies, and the finish will be improved even more. Strategy Milling previously charged an extra fee for improved anatomy milling because of the additional time and tools required, but now that quality will become standard.

“We are offering more for the same price,” Mappin says.

Similar to the options that dentists have when choosing a laboratory, laboratories have a lower-priced option for milled gold crown restorations, so Mappin prioritizes separating his product from the competition with its quality.

“There will always be both Oreo and Hydrox on the shelf,” he says. “You can choose whichever one you want, but there will always be a difference in quality.”

One Strategy Milling customer recently asked about prices, and Mappin responded that if he wanted cheaper restorations that he would need to go elsewhere. The customer said he had already tried that, but that the difference was night and day. No further discussion on that aspect was needed.

“It is all about what you want and what your dentists are willing to accept,” Mappin says. “We know our quality is different, which creates a different demand. Any time dental laboratories prepare to digitize their precious metals, when they compare their options, we want them to realize that the difference in quality is worth a slightly higher price, and they can still maintain a nice profit margin."

That constant drive to get better is what helps Strategy Milling continue to grow.

“The new milled palladium PFM alloy option, and the alloys to follow, will be what pushes Strategy Milling to the next level,” Mappin says. “We plan to continue to be the leader in milled precious metals.”

Key Takeaways

• Physics will always limit the predictability of casting metal, so Strategy Milling introduced milled gold crowns/precious metals to the market.

• Strategy Milling developed its workflow to meet the high standards of owner Scott Mappin’s father, an Air Force-trained CDT.

• The company recently released the country's first milled PFM alloy and has other options in development to offer more CAD/CAM metal restorations to its customers.

• New CAM software and 0.5-mm-diameter milling will provide the most accurate fit and make it possible to offer optimal anatomy milling with no extra fee.

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