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15 Mar 2011 | eLABORATE

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Sirona launches intraoral scanning system and more...

By Joseph Allbeury

Digital Impressions Intraoral Scanning CAD/CAM Digital Dentistry CEREC

Sirona Dental Systems has launched CEREC AC Connect, its new intraoral scanning system at an introductory price of $29,995. CEREC AC Connect utilises intraoral scanning technology perfected over five generations of its highly successful CEREC chairside CAD/CAM system.


Using CEREC AC Connect, dentists can take digital impressions that are then transmitted via the new CEREC Connect portal at no cost to a dental laboratory of their choice for restoration design and manufacture. As a further bonus, CEREC AC Connect can be upgraded at any time to a full CEREC AC CAD/CAM system if desired.

"CEREC AC Connect offers our customers a cost-effective entry to the burgeoning world of digital dentistry and all it has to offer," said Morne Cheetham, CEREC Director for Sirona Dental Systems in Australia and New Zealand. "Sirona invented intraoral scanning three decades ago and we recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the commercialisation of this technology. With CEREC AC Connect, we are again offering a natural evolution of our product range that is designed to offer a fast, high quality and cost-effective solution for a range of innovative digital workflows."

CEREC AC Connect allows dentists to take a digital impression but rather than design and mill the restoration in their practice, as is the case with CEREC, they transmit the impression to their technician. The dental technician can then digitally design the restoration, either as a substructure or a fully contoured final restoration using software provided at no cost.

"If the laboratory has an inLAB system of their own, they can then mill the restoration in-house," Mr Cheetham said. "Or again, as a very cost-effective entry to digital dentistry for laboratories as well, they can transmit it to any other lab with an inLAB system or to our new infiniDent centralised milling centre in Sydney for fabrication.

"This complete solution offers dentists and technicians the option of choosing any type of restoration produced from a vast selection of materials."

At the heart of the CEREC AC Connect is the Bluecam™ handheld acquisition camera (the same camera used in the CEREC AC chairside CAD/CAM system) which uses a powerful light-emitting diode (LED) to capture digital impressions. According to the company, Bluecam's ability to capture full-arch impressions in under 2 minutes makes it superior to other digital intraoral impression technologies on the market.

The optics used in the Bluecam handheld camera have been optimized for a higher depth of field and accuracy and have been coupled with increased computing power to display the most crisp, detailed digital impressions possible.

CEREC Connect
Once the digital impression is taken, CEREC Connect, the world's largest digital dental network, then provides a virtual web portal for the transfer of digital impressions between CEREC AC Connect (as well as CEREC AC) practices and laboratories.

"Digital impressions are becoming the preferred choice because they are extremely precise, fast and reliable," Mr Cheetham said. "Lab owners prefer digital impressions for similar reasons and they appreciate the fact that there's no need to compensate, correct, or repair digital models due to shrinkage, tearing or other common inadequacies to which conventional impressions and models are prone. Patients also benefit from an impression material-free treatment experience with less overall time in the chair, more comfort and a better-fitting final restoration."

The CEREC Connect software converts the image data from the intraoral CEREC Bluecam camera into a virtual model. The dentist subsequently fills out the order form on the screen and sends the data quickly and directly to their dental laboratory via CEREC Connect during the patient consultation. All indications from single-tooth restorations to small bridges can be produced. Final testing for large-span work is also underway.

Using CEREC Connect, dentist and dental technician can also consult each other remotely on screen about the virtual 3D model during the patient consultation and thus gain valuable time.

Model production
The digital equivalent of pouring up a stone model is created by Sirona using a stereolithography (SLA) process. This model is already saw-cut, pinned and returned to the laboratory within 3-5 working days. Sirona offers split cast adapter plates to mount the CEREC Connect model onto standard articulators. The inLab CAD/CAM system interface allows dental technicians to control the entire production process from receipt of the digital impression to the final restoration in their own laboratory.

infiniDent milling centre
For laboratories who do not own an inLab system, Sirona have partnered with Stoneglass Industries in Sydney to provide the Australian and New Zealand site for its Infinident central production service.

The infiniDent service allows laboratories to design 3D restorations in-house and then send the digital restorations to Sirona for fabrication of full-contour crowns or bridge frameworks in a wide array of material choices including ceramic, wax, acrylic and metal.

"infiniDent centralised production has been offered in Europe for several years," Mr Cheetham said, "but we have held back launching this in Australia because we didn't want to have to manufacture the restorations overseas. After a long consultative process, we decided to partner with Stoneglass Industries because we believe they have the experience and expertise to offer the high standard of products we require.

"Dental laboratories will now have the option of using infiniDent to manufacture restorations using inLab MCXL milling units or an additional range of products that we have previously been unable to offer, such as titanium and other materials.

"Part of the process for selecting a local milling centre included a complete audit of the facilities of Stoneglass Industries by our German engineering team and they passed with flying colours."

Laboratories will now be able to send digital restorations through the web portal to infiniDent and a few days later, receive the finished framework or milled restorations ready for completion and return to the dentist. infiniDent offers a wide choice of materials. Depending on the indication and the dentists' requirements, dental technicians will always have the appropriate materials at hand when infiniDent is chosen for production.

Table 1. Materials available through infiniDent
FrameworksFull-Contour Restorations
Sirona inCoris NPSirona CEREC Blocs
Sirona inCoris WAXIPS e.max CAD
Sirona inCoris ZIVITA Mark II
Sirona inCoris ALVITA TriLuxe forte
VITA YZVITA RealLife
IPS e.maxZirCAD
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