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08.07.2016

Digital models in layered mode

The progress made in the digitalisation of dental processes. Nevertheless, continual improvements in imaging technology have resulted in its ever-greater significance in dentistry. Modern intraoral scanners enable dentists to digitalise the entire patient jaw directly in the mouth of the patient, thus generating three-dimensional data sets. This obviates the need for time and space-consuming plaster models. The rapid manufacturing process also enables the mass production of individual patient products. D’life spoke with Torsten Schulte-Tigges, Marketing Director of Dreve Dentamid GmbH, about the trend towards increasing digitalisation in dental processes and the growing demand for digital data models. 

D’life: Mr Schulte-Tigges, the increasing digitalisation of dental processes is a mega trend. Which role does digitalisation play in your company – and how has this area developed?

Our core competences were originally in the area of tool building, plastics and silicone impression materials for duplicating dental models. We saw that early investment in the new digital workflow technologies would be necessary to ensure future growth. As a result, we now produce enormous quantities of generative digital models in layered mode.

How do you guarantee problem-free rapid manufacturing processes? What does the production process for these digital models look like?

As exclusively digital processes are still limited, the dental model remains an important starting point for many restorations. Seeking to keep up with the high demand, we moved in 2015 to develop an ordering system through which high-precision dental models can be ordered in large quantities. Scanned data from the dental laboratory or dental practice is initially prepared using model builder software. This is then transferred to an Internet portal. Scan LED Technology (SLT) systems are used for the generative production. The exposure head moves over the construction platform in the xy direction, projecting an image from an extremely high-performance LED light source onto a construction platform coated with plastic. This enables the use of layered construction procedures to generate extremely precise and complex components.

Before your arrival at Dreve Dentamid, the company was known as a manufacturer of laboratory equipment. Since then, your products with their standard red branding are to be found both in the laboratory as well as the surgery. How did you manage this transition?

Such changes always require the courage to make changes and meet decisions. Creativity and an eye for the media are also required in such branding exercises. When seeking to re-define a company brand image, your need patience and stamina to make and sustain success. The basis for such work is always provided by experienced employees and a homogenous international sales team, both as a field force and office workers. The choice of corporate design is important, but not as vital as a committed workforce who gets behind the new philosophy. Good brands can act as a beacon, providing identity and orientation on an opaque market.

A number of your product packages are printed with HIBC codes (Health Industry Bar Code). Can you explain these codes to us? What advantages do they offer in a dental practice in comparison to a conventional bar code?

The HIBC code replaces conventional bar codes and contain the expiry date and the batch. This facilitates complete documentation in the dental surgery. In addition, the code is not just added to the packaging, but is printed directly on the cartridge. This guarantees fault-free processes and clear traceability. An important aspect of this process is the legal security of the documentation and the time saved by generating it. No need for additional labels or manual input, all you need do is scan the label.

What is your prognosis for the digitalisation of dentistry - both the trends and challenges?

The nature and efficiency of order generation is vital to every successful business model. Our processes rely to a great extent on customer scanners, both oral and stationary. The majority of technical challenges in these areas have already been solved, which have persuaded an increasing number of dentists to use the digital workflow system. Oral scanners are becoming smaller and more affordable, as well as steadily improving in terms of quality. A number of exciting dental applications are just about to obtain official clearance.

Many thanks for the interview.

Published by: ml/rf
Digital models in layered mode

The dental model remains an important starting point for many restorative procedures.