Henry Schein Halas has launched its Everything CAD/CAM catalogue aimed at demonstrating the ease, both practically and financially, of incorporating the latest technologies for automated manufactrure into your laboratory.
"The uptake of CAD and CAD/CAM technologies into dental laboratories in Australia and New Zealand is increasing exponentially," said Ross Phillips, Speciality Business Unit Manager at Henry Schein Halas. "It's taken a number of tipping points in the industry to get here, however the level of interest we're now receiving from laboratory owners around the country demonstrates that the advantages of CAD/CAM technology is finally hitting home.
"We're excited to be offering VHF mills and 3Shape products into the marketplace that are designed to help dental laboratories compete with offshore clearing houses as well as herald in a new generation of quality, versatility, efficiency and aesthetic excellence. As well as hardware, we're also offering an exciting range of materials from our existing partners like high translucent zirconia from Vita and Zirlux as well as unique layered zirconia from Noritake and amazing new materials from companies like Polident and Adentatec."
Mr Phillips said that with digitally designed and manufactured restorations now well-proven and myriad advancements in materials technologies, the acceptance of CAD/CAM solutions by clinicans is also rapidly increasing.
"With new materials coming onto the market quickly that offer remarkable aesthetics cost-effectively, particularly when compared to precious metals, more and more laboratories are looking at how to offer these solutions to their customers."
According to Mr Phillips, whilst CAD/CAM is now within the reach of every laboratory, to achieve real economies in the cost of manufacturing often necessitates investing in an in-house milling system.
"CAD/CAM is now well proven. Dr Matts Andersson developed the Procera CAD/CAM system over 30 years ago now and CEREC was not far behind. So what you see and use today has been developed and refined for 3 decades. In fact, chances are that many of the restorations in practice today have been created using some form of CAD/CAM technology."
Mr Phillips said that establishing a focussed unit within Henry Schein to offer CAD/CAM solutions was easier than had been expected as the company already had staff on board who were well-versed in CAD/CAM technology.
"It just seemed logical that as we already have a team of highly trained and experienced intraoral and desktop milling specialists working on other products, that we cross-train them to offer market leading specialist advice on 3Shape's Trios as well as the new standalone camera from E4D, the 'Nevo'.
"What many people also don't realise is that Henry Schein Halas has taken on the distribution of 3M ESPE LAVA industrial milling blocks and the support of the industrial LAVA mills in Australia. This has taken a huge investment in expertise and capital and we now have members of the support team who can maintain extremely complex pieces of equipment on an industrial scale. That same group of staff already have several years experience in desktop milling systems like E4D.
"We believe that the next 2-3 years is going to be critical and capital intensive. We have spent close to six figures retraining staff, building our knowledge base, adding inventory and creating partnerships where we needed the expertise. People simply do not grasp how complex these systems can be. It may look simple on the surface, but the backend and the support is immense. Henry Schein, with its global reach and capital base, are the only company in Australia who can keep up and support customers properly."
James Smith, Head of CAD/CAM Technical Support at Henry Schein Halas, said "It seems counterintuitive but the more these machines develop, the easier they are to work on, the less expensive the parts are and the more reliable they become. The real problem we face is that the mills quickly become 'mission critical'; if there is a problem, it needs to be remedied as soon as posssible. Plus, we need to minimise the time it takes to do routine maintenance or updates. This takes resources and good planning and this has not been lost on us.
"Support is key and anyone buying from Henry Schein can be assured that the training and support they will receive will be the best in the market!"
Get ready for intraoral scans
Digital Dentistry Sales Specialist, Martin Wagner, has only been in Australia for 2 years, having worked in Germany with other laboratory-based CAD/CAM systems. This experience has given him a unique insight into the differences between Australia and our European counterparts.
"Australians are more thorough before they make a purchase than the Europeans I'm used to working with," he said. "This makes me very happy! It makes me realise that they want to continue to offer the very best product but at a lower cost to their clients. Laboratories really understand what is happening in the market and see a mill as a solution to compete with work going offshore. In addition, labs are also readying themselves for the influx of intraoral scan data coming their way."
The area of intraoral scanning really excites Quentin Daniels, who heads up the chairside application team at Henry Schein. "The only option available to dentists in the past was to purchase a chairside scanning system and a mill. Although these systems work extremely well, we always had a few customers who just wanted to try the intraoral scanning first or conversely, do more types of restorations than single crowns, inlays and onlays.
"Now that we have the Nevo and the Trios, we can offer options whereby dentists can start with a small investment in an intraoral scanner and still take full advantage of CAM manufacturing by instantly connecting to the digital laboratory of their choice. There is no model, the whole process is digital and most labs are now willing to pass that saving on."
"I think our new Everything CAD/CAM catalogue is quite impressive," Mr Phillips said. "We wanted to show our complete product offering but also appreciate it will be very new to a lot of the industry. To counter that, we've added simple features and benefits to each product, kept the products in a logical sequence, and also added tips and tricks as well as a glossary to help everyone navigate their way through this new digital paradigm and any confusing jargon!
"So far, our initial roll out of milling systems and scanners has gone well and we're looking forward to helping more laboratories into the digital age.
"We've already installed a number of VHF mills and all of the lab owners have been very impressed at our product offering, depth of knowledge, quality of training and backup support.
"I've been humbled by the performance of our team and the subsequent feedback from customers. In fact, I was speaking with two customers recently and they wanted to give something back for all the hard work we put in. These two laboratories will now be reference sites for other technicians wanting to see these machines working in a live 'real' environment. So we couldn't have asked for more!
"We still have a long way to go," Mr Phillips said, "but so far so good. We feel we have the right people, a large capital base to continue to invest and the right product mix. We think that our hard work is paying off and customers will hear about the good things we are doing and then give us a call. We believe the intraoral market is about to grow rapidly and I'm pleased to see laboratories are getting ready for this new technology and the new opportunities it offers.