Foundational Skills and Traditional Expertise Brought to a Digital Era
The digital age of dentistry brings a new wave of opportunities and along with it a new set of challenges for dental technicians. The Ottawa Dental Laboratory is adapting to the ever changing landscape of the dental industry by combining the tried-and-true methods and principles of the past and evolving them to coincide with the technological advances of digital dentistry.
Designing a crown digitally, in essence, is not much different than designing a crown traditionally by wax-up. The difference is simply the tools used to create the end product. In contrast to the field of dentistry, tooth anatomy and design has remained constant and this is one of the reasons the Ottawa Dental Laboratory has had so much success adapting to new technologies. Our technicians that are designing these digital crowns have 10+ years of experience in the crown and bridge department. For years they’ve honed their skills and continue to learn each day how to produce precisely correct anatomical restorations. Though their tools have changed from a spatula to a mouse, they have a finely tuned sense of what makes a crown functional and esthetic.
Benefits of Digital Dentistry with ODL
Progressing towards the digital medium is allowing laboratories to produce more accurate and efficient work, but the real benefactor is the practice and patients. The most notable difference when going digital is the elimination of processes to complete a restoration. There is no longer a need to schedule a case pickup. Intra-oral scanning allows an STL file to easily be sent from the office to the lab within minutes and ODL technicians can begin working on the fabrication immediately, and since there is no physical impression there are no set times for stone pour-ups and model work. Eliminating these once necessary time sinking steps drastically reduces the turnaround for a case compared to traditional methods.
Remakes will always be present in the laboratory field, but advances in dental technology arm ODL technicians with better communication tools than ever before and digital impressions give an unprecedented level of accuracy. In fact, 80% of the causes of remakes are eliminated with intra-oral scans. Software libraries house the anatomical designs of each tooth and ODL technicians are now able to scan study models to use as digital guidelines, and what was traditionally an additive process, PFM and implant restorations are now created using subtractive methods. By reverse engineering a full anatomical crown, the restoration coping is designed to be precisely anatomically correct creating greater consistency and lessening porcelain fractures.
Tools of the Digital Age
The Ottawa Dental Laboratory partners with companies that support open architecture. This allows ODL technicians to utilize the best CAD/CAM systems and not be confined to one machine. The STL file we receive from an office intra-oral scan is not locked into a closed system. This flexibility means our technicians can use their clinical expertise to take the file and use the best software/hardware suited for that restoration.
ODL has the latest software, scanners, and milling units to complete even the most complex restorations your office encounters. We house multiple Wieland Zenotec Select 5-axis mills that can mill crowns and copings out of wax, PMMA, and zirconia. These top of the line mills even have the capability to mill full arch zirconia bridges with ease. Our NobelProcera™ and Straumann Cares scanners give ODL implant technicians the ability to design custom abutments and implant bars in house as well as fabricate coDiagnostix™ surgical guides, decreasing chair time for our dentists and enhancing patient experiences.
The latest addition to the Ottawa Dental Lab repertoire is our Stratasys Objet Eden260V 3D Printer. This incredible technological advancement prints ODL models from digital impressions from any dentist office around the world using STL files from intra-oral scanners such as Cadent iTero, 3M True Definition, and the 3Shape Trios. From these digital files ODL can print coDiagnostix™ surgical guides, wax frames for partials, and wax try-ins for flexible partials. These printed models are more consistent, more accurate, and have a faster turnaround than the their traditional stone poured ancestors.
Ottawa Dental Lab’s tradition in dental excellence has evolved and progressed to work in synergy with dentistry’s exciting entrance into the digital era. Partnered with ODL and our experienced artistic technicians, your practice can reap the benefits of every aspect digital dentistry has to offer.