Symposium Brings Industry Full Circle
Dr. Francois Duret is credited with the first application of CAD/CAM in the mid-1970s. Despite this early innovation, it was not until the mid-1980s that this technology really began to evolve. The initial CAD/CAM machines were not without limitations—cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly. However, these inefficiencies were addressed and improved upon, and by the late 1980s, salespeople were visiting my dental laboratory to boast that the work I had been performing would soon be outdated and replaced by this technology. By the late 1990s, I had the benefit of beginning to work behind the scenes with several new technologies. Suddenly, in the early 2000s, the foretelling of this technology storm had been proven true and "pressed materials" were the shiny new objects being marketed and touted as must-use products for all dental laboratories.
Digital advancements accelerated and soon were being promoted in events, lectures, marketing, and advertisements. In 2008, you may recall when a world-famous ceramist showing monolithic restorations said, "These are good enough." Those words left many of us uneasy. Regardless of the instruments employed, whether it be a brush, spatula, or mouse, our goals must remain the same: to be the best at what we do. "Good enough" should not be an option, and our artistry must be at the forefront of any technology advances. Combining artistry and technology in my work and my dental laboratory always will remain the ultimate goal.
With that said, the advancement of materials and strategies in this industry is now well beyond good enough. As the owner of a six-person laboratory, I utilize two scanners, two milling machines, and a 3D printer in our daily work. We are, without hesitation, a digital laboratory. However, our artistry is never ignored. By choice, I continue to manually layer as much ceramic as I did prior to milling on substructures, including metal, zirconia, PEEK, nano-hybrids, and lithium silicate. Nevertheless, as technicians, we cannot ignore the benefits of the advancements in technology. Even 3D printing, once used only for crown and bridge, now encompasses all facets of our work, including model and die, dentures, and surgical guides.
For a more complete understanding of the most innovative technology and where our industry is headed, I recommend attending this year's IDT International Digital Denture Symposium, which continues to bring us full circle on these issues. Honored as the host of this year's event, and present at the past two shows, I have proudly watched the participants continue to increase in size commensurate with the advanced education offered through inspirational and exceptional domestic and international speakers. Last year's symposium packed in participants from more than 45 states and over a dozen countries. I was perhaps most encouraged to learn that the dentist/technician attendance ratio was close to 50/50. This collaboration for learning is the key to our future and the symposium appears to be first in line in ensuring that this continues to happen. As always, I look forward to seeing you all in Atlanta for two days of exciting lectures and workshops.
Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT