Hybrid Bridge Laboratory Reaches New Levels
Revolutionary material improves both efficiency and quality
When Jay Sober teamed up with Frank R. LaMar, DDS, and James LaMar, DMD, approximately 4 years ago, the goal was to make a strong product even better. The LaMar brothers owned Hybridge LLC in Rochester, New York, a niche dental laboratory with a proprietary protocol for a simplified full-arch process. Sober, a veteran technician who had been working for Ivoclar Vivadent as a technical consultant, believed he could use his background in materials science to take the product to a new level.
"I learned while working on the manufacturing side that many dental professionals are not using products correctly, and that when you do use materials according to manufacturer instructions, you get much better results," Sober says. "I knew I could put my stamp on this already-strong laboratory by identifying the best materials and implementing new protocols to increase consistency."
Indeed, with Sober as Lab Manager, Hybridge has thrived and experienced its best month in March before the COVID-19 shutdown—and they returned to those levels by early September, he says.
All work performed at Hybridge is directed toward full-arch implant-retained hybrids. Dentists are required to take a course and become certified before sending cases there, and they need to follow a rigid protocol on those cases.
"Because we have systematic protocols," Sober says, "dentists always know what they will get from us. They provide what we need to do our job, and we give them what they need to do their job. The end result is a very esthetically pleasing, hearty restoration that changes people's lives."
However, an early challenge for the laboratory was achieving sufficient strength properties in the restorations.
"Many of the materials that we have used traditionally in the dental laboratory were never designed to withstand the levels of stress that a hybrid bridge is placed under," Sober says. "We focused on finding ways to use materials that would make our restorations heartier and less likely to fracture. We tried a number of options and studied the feedback. In the long run, we developed a superior product."
Every Hybridge case begins with a template for a denture or a temporary denture. Within 6 weeks, the temporary is replaced with a hybrid. Another option Hybridge offers is its XD system, which involves a final restoration being delivered within 2 weeks.
The laboratory had been dabbling in digital dentures, but when business slowed due to the COVID-19 shutdown, they decided to redirect all of their efforts to going completely digital for the denture phase of their treatment. The material that they found to be best for their workflow was Ivoclar Vivadent's Ivotion Denture System, a process based on a monolithic, bi-colored milling disc.
"Ivotion was a natural fit," Sober says. "Previously, we had utilized a three-step process of milling the base, milling the teeth, and then bonding them together and finishing everything. With Ivotion, we can literally design a denture and mill it in one step. It is so much quicker."
The efficiencies of Ivotion have allowed Sober to scale up Hybridge's operation without needing to increase their workforce, which is always a challenge due to the scarcity of trained denture technicians.
"It completely changed our abilities," Sober says. "We are much leaner."
Hybridge had been utilizing IvoBase from Ivoclar Vivadent for its denture bases previously, and while Sober says that had been the gold standard in terms of compensating for shrinkage and consistency of fit, Ivotion is even better.
"Dentists notice that the fits are consistently better," he says. "It is really mind-boggling."
The esthetics, meanwhile, are such that dentists typically do not even know that the dentures came from monolithic pucks.
"It is ridiculously good," Sober says. "Two years ago, I would have said this was impossible. The detail is incredible, especially with Ivoclar Vivadent's PrograMill PM7 mills. They are beautiful dentures."
With these new advantages, Hybridge has been able to continue to serve its demanding clientele with even better quality, and the partnership between Sober and the LaMars continues to thrive.
"We are really making a difference in the profession," Sober says.
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