Digital Denture Insiders: Chris Bolam
As Director DXC/Digital Education and Design for Dental Services Group (DSG), Chris Bolam is responsible for researching, developing, and implementing new digital processes and workflows—especially those involving 3D printing. He works closely with manufacturers and vendors to stay up to speed on the latest developments. When DSG decided to begin testing digital denture workflows and materials, Bolam chose to work with Zahn Dental.
1. What are your priorities as you explore your options for digital dentures at DSG?
When we look at digital dentures, our first consideration is the quality of the product. Customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities at DSG, so we only implement new products that our dentists will use and appreciate. These products must be comparable to, if not better than, what we are already providing in terms of quality, price point, workflows, ease of use, etc. Specifically regarding 3D printed dentures, we are examining the material strength and workability; labor savings also do not hurt. We want our technicians to be more productive and fabricate a better product.
2. Why did you decide to use the EnvisionTEC Envision One 3D printer?
We have used the Envision One printer for other applications and been very pleased with it. If we trust a printer to produce ultra-high resolution and ultra-high accuracy with our model work, we can also be confident in the fit of a denture base from that printer. We have been anxiously awaiting the availability of the proper materials. When those materials became available for testing, it was due diligence to test them and figure out how they could be implemented.
3. Why are you working with Zahn Dental on materials?
Multiple manufacturers have developed promising materials recently, so it was our job to test them all, and Zahn Dental makes that easy. We are able to get our hands on most of what is out there from the major players and test it. DSG as a whole tries to include as many options as possible in our portfolio to make sure we are offering the best products to our customers, and Zahn Dental helps us do that.
4. What have your early impressions been of some of these new materials?
We like the material strength; that has been important since the beginning, and the manufacturers are finding more and more ways to make these denture bases stronger. The workflow is also a significant advantage: the ease of use in printing, curing, and getting the teeth set. Fit is important as well, and the high accuracy of the Envision One printer makes the denture bases fit very well.