Digital Support for Traditional Removables
My Digital Denture combines CAD/CAM with analog finishing process
By Ron Miller, CDT
People often ask me if I plan to retire soon. Miller Dental Laboratory, Inc., is the oldest continuously family-owned dental laboratory in the state of Washington, proudly serving dentists since 1951.
However, I’m not ready to retire. So many exciting new technologies are becoming available in our industry. I enjoy the challenge of ensuring that Miller Dental Laboratory remains at the forefront by utilizing technologies such as My Digital Denture from Heraeus Kulzer.
The need for My Digital Denture in our laboratory was twofold. First, we want to provide our dentists state-of-the-art services, which now includes incorporating CAD/CAM into our removables process. Second, finding skilled denture technicians has become extremely challenging, and My Digital Denture helps us cut down on labor requirements without losing the personal touches that our dentists expect.
My Digital Denture relieves us of the setup and design responsibilities. We can choose either a 3D printed prototype or a stabilized wax prototype. We still fabricate the final denture ourselves, however, whether using press packing, injection, microwave, or a different method. My Digital Denture fits right into our existing workflow and provides that extra support during the setup stage that often is difficult to find.
We use My Digital Denture for much of our immediate denture work. We handle the scanning; Heraeus Kulzer sends a printed prototype; and we then process the final prosthetic in the laboratory.
When we work on a premium case, we often choose to receive the prototype at the hybrid stage, with the teeth in wax, but still with the white printed base. Dentists have loved those printed bases at try-in; previously, we had never been able to create a base with teeth that fit intimately to the model without breaking the model. Heraeus Kulzer prints the prototype from the digital scan, so the fit has been phenomenal. We just make a few adjustments and then process it in the laboratory because the teeth are in wax. If needed, the 3D printed prototype allows us to simply notify Heraeus Kulzer of the changes and they will print another one.
As positive as the feedback has been, we expect more dentists to ask about My Digital Denture. Those who are not quite ready for digital technology for removable cases are likely at least to consider doing so. Offering this service is extremely important, because if you are not ready when your dentist is ready, then another laboratory will be.
To remain successful in this industry, you need to change and adapt. Utilizing CAD/CAM for denture production is so far from where Miller Dental Laboratory was when I started in this business, but it is working well and we are successfully integrating the process with the help of a company whose mindset is to provide laboratories with the tools they need now and in the future.
Ron Miller, CDT
Miller Dental Laboratory, Inc.
•The Pala Digital Design Center will create the digital setup and design
•The laboratory can choose to use either a 3D-printed prototype, or a stabilized wax prototype that provides the fit and function of a 3D-printed base but allows the clinician the ability to adjust the teeth in the prototype
•3D PDF approval of design prior to finishing the denture
•Laboratory can utilize its own in-house finishing process