Last week I had the opportunity to visit Straumann’s Milling Centre in Arlington, TX and to listen to one of their top speakers, Alexander Wünsche, CDT and owner of Zahntechniques in Miami, FL. Check out Alexander’s Instagram!
It all started on Thursday night where we had the chance to meet colleagues from all over North America to discuss the new and old ways of our profession.
Being one of the youngest dental lab owners I sat back and listened to what everyone had to say, but quickly realized that age doesn’t matter in the fast-changing environment of dental laboratories.
It doesn’t matter if you are a lab rat for 20+ years waxing up most of your life or are part of the PlayStation generation that got into digital dentistry a little sooner.
We all came to the conclusion that it is an absolute must to hop on the digital train as well as to integrate your knowledge of analog techniques in the dental lab industry.
Alexander Wünsche’s Lecture On Digital Workflows and Ceramic Dental Labs
Friday morning started with what I was most excited about, Alexander’s lecture on digital workflow and where you fit in as a ceramic dental lab.
Listening to Alex made me and most of my colleagues understand that what we had discussed the night before; how to keep your custom dental lab running well.
It doesn’t matter if you are a three-person boutique lab or a big production laboratory. If you have never waxed a tooth how can you design it in a CAD software? If you don’t know how to articulate stone models how do you want to set up a full arch on a virtual articulator?
Many practices I learned in dental college that I thought would be forgotten are actually making a comeback, and I’m more than happy about it.
If we use what we have learned in analog and we combine it with the digital workflow, we have an even bigger opportunity to explain the different dental lab restoration options for patients.
When a patient is a heavy bruxzir and needs a crown on a molar you don’t have to prescribe them a full contour zirconia crown with 1500 mP just because it’s fast, cheap and tooth coloured.
The strength of a natural tooth is 130 mega Pasquale. What do you think will happen to the opposing tooth over time when you know the patient is grinding their teeth extremely hard?
A full gold crown might not be the fanciest way to restore the situation but in a case like this, it may be a better solution. The patient doesn’t know any of that and I feel it’s our duty to tell them what options are available and maybe most suitable for their case.
That’s what I’ve thought lacked a little bit in the past. When we looked around in our field everything and everyone is focused on easy, fast and efficient.
Don’t get me wrong I do want to run my business as efficient as possible but I think I have to take a different approach to not lose sight of the bigger picture: The patient.
I’d rather spend a few extra minutes listening to patients talk about what their teeth looked like when they were 22 or how they love Julia Roberts’ smile.
That is information that can make your restoration stand out and they will tell their family and friends about the experience you provided, rather than produce a generic crown that gives you the “looks good” or “ah, it’s in the back” response.
In today’s world customer feedback travels so fast through the internet. You only have one chance to prove that you can deliver what the clinician and patient want without them knowing.
Afternoon Sessions at Straumann’s Milling Centre
The afternoon was equally exciting.
The shuttle picked us up and drove us to Straumann’s Milling Centre. It was immediately clear this company runs a tight operation. Seeing how fast robots pick blanks and fill the mills is incredible.
From the moment I send a custom abutment design from our Kelowna dental lab to the team in Arlington to get milled, it takes roughly 24 mins. To accept the file and feed the robot takes six minutes and total mill time for a titanium abutment is 18 minutes.
I was so engrossed with the entire production that I almost missed my flight. But even in a case like that, you see how professional the company is and stands behind you. Event manager Chad Gagnon didn’t think twice to organize a private ride to the airport for me to make my flight.
So if someone says their implants are better or stronger or prettier or whatever it is, I can say, maybe they are (most likely not) but there is more to trust a restorative dentistry company.
Being a Straumann customer makes me feel at ease. This company knows what it is talking about and it walks the walk.