Henry Schein is on a mission with its new Connect Dental initiative to help local dental laboratories compete in a rapidly changing marketplace. Connect Dental has added a range of CAD/CAM solutions from VHF and 3Shape to its existing stable of products for dental technology and is backing it with service, support and training to help technicians evolve into cost-effective, state-of-the-art digital workflows.
"It's an exciting time right now for dental technology because suddenly, there are a range of solutions coming onto the market that have levelled the playing field," said David Wagenheim, Laboratory Marketing Manager at
Henry Schein Halas.
"It is no secret that local laboratories have been slammed by the outflow of work to third world countries for production and finally, we are seeing the means to redress the balance so that work can again be completed profitably in Australia or New Zealand."
As can be seen from this edition of eLABORATE, CAD/CAM production solutions are now available from multiple vendors so rather than simply trying to outsell their competitors, Henry Schein is taking a different tack.
"We have a fantastic open solution for laboratories who want to scan, design and mill their work in-house and we are of course not alone in being able to offer that. Rather than fight over customers however, we see the real opportunity here as being able to grow the market for digital technology and help technicians carve out a secure future for their industry.
"We want laboratories to be production centres, not clearing houses for offshore labs and we want to see dental work produced in its country of origin. That is good for technicians, it is good for the industry and it is good for dentists and their patients."
Mr Wagenheim said that education on the possibilities for digital production of dental restorations was in short supply and that this would be a key focus.
"When we were brain-storming about the best way to approach our launch into the CAD/CAM arena, it became clear that we had to concentrate on outcomes rather than processes," he said.
"This lead us to designing an advert around how any laboratory can now produce beautiful crowns for just $17.72 a unit. This price is comparable to that paid by the clearing houses for offshore laboratories, yet will yield a far better product that is more precise, has guaranteed composition and is delivered in hours, not weeks."
Mr Wagenheim said that their advert clearly documents the rationale for the $17.72 price point and quickly put to rest any suggestion that publishing a price was a means of selling solutions to dentists.
"Technicians who see the price on the ad may be taken aback by it, but we must stress that to arrive at this figure relies on the customer having a critical mass of work to attain the necessary economies of scale for the $17.72 cost per unit to apply.
"You need a scanner and a mill and a furnace and you need a technician to operate it all. Then you need a ready supply of work for the system to produce. It is the perfect solution for a laboratory because they will often have most of that in place already. For a dentist however, the dynamics are just not the same.
"What we are really trying to say to technicians is that if you haven't looked at CAD/CAM for a while or at all, then you need to look at how far this technology has come.
"The precision range of equipment that is now available combined with great advances in materials development and software design is nothing short of remarkable. Best of all however, it is just so affordable."
Mr Wagenheim said Henry Schein's Connect Dental initiative was designed to help laboratories utilise digital workflows in their operations and that this would become increasingly important as the use of technologies like intraoral scanning and digital impression taking become commonplace.
"Henry Schein is very well placed to help laboratories succeed in the coming age of digital dentistry. We can supply solutions for scanning and in-house production plus software and materials in a turnkey solution, backed by continual training and support.
"In addition, as a key technology supplier to dentists, Henry Schein is at the forefront of delivering intraoral scanning solutions to dental practices to facilitate digital impression taking. We offer multiple intraoral scanning solutions from different vendors and this places us in a unique position to help facilitate a connection between digital dentist and digital laboratory to provide a truly unique solution."
Henry Schein Connect Dental
3Shape, KaVo Arctica and Lava ST
3Shape TRIOS (Sep 2013), E4D Nevo, 3M True Definition (2014), Planmeca PlanScan
3Shape Dental Designer
VHF, KaVo Arctica
Vita, Vita Enamic, Vita Suprinity, 3M ESPE Lava Ultimate, Lava Plus, Zirlux translucent zirconia