The trend towards metal-free restorative dentistry has never been greater. The steadily climbing price of precious metals has left technicians, as well as their clinical counterparts, searching for cost-effective metal-free alternatives.
Innovations in CAD/CAM milling technology and materials, combined with an increasingly widespread use of digital workflows, have now made all-ceramic restorative options the material of choice in the dental laboratory and in the practice. With increased demand for all-ceramic restorations, a revolution in material innovations has exploded with the introduction of new, highly aesthetic restorative options to suit all indications.
Ivoclar Vivadent continues its investment in providing laboratories with the means to create strong, aesthetic, all-ceramic restorations. Committed to offering laboratories the most advanced technologies, the highest quality products and a world-class education, Ivoclar Vivadent has now expanded its portfolio of materials and technologies with the acquisition of Wieland Dental. This merger allows Ivoclar Vivadent to add Wieland's Zenotec milling machines, as well as their Zenostar full-contour zirconia milling discs to its extensive product line of highly aesthetic all-ceramic restorative solutions. This addition further extends the company's reach into the metal-free market by expanding restorative options for laboratories invested in open-ended CAD/CAM solutions.
According to Stewart Forman, Market Development Manager at Ivoclar Vivadent, the acquisition of Wieland Dental and the resulting addition of Zenotec milling machines to Ivoclar Vivadent's arsenal of products, falls in line with the company's overarching philosophy to provide all options for all-ceramics.
"Wieland's product range allows our customers to take advantage of the many different innovations that CAD/CAM technology has to offer, including metal-free restorations milled in the dental laboratory," Mr Forman said.
Zenostar zirconia now available
Following the acquisition, Ivoclar Vivadent now offers Wieland's Zenostar full-contour zirconia milling discs. Zenostar zirconia is used strictly in a laboratory environment and its indications cover a wide range of indications from single units to 14-unit bridges. The versatile material is available in six basic shades, which can then be easily characterized to accommodate most patient's aesthetic needs. Zenostar demonstrates high flexural strength, is able to reproduce both Vita A-D and 3D shades and offers very high light transmission. It is this combination of high strength while maintaining high translucency that sets it apart from competitive products.
"Adding Zenostar zirconia to our product line expands an already extensive portfolio," Mr Forman said. "We want our customers to have the ultimate flexibility to create the type of all-ceramic restorations that they feel are best for any clinical situation. Combined with Ivoclar Vivadent's already outstanding material range, such as IPS e.max, which includes IPS e.max Press, IPS e.max Ceram, IPS e.max CAD and IPS e.max ZirCAD, plus IPS Empress, technicians can now create restorations ranging from thin veneers to multiple unit bridgeworks."
Popularity of all-ceramics grows
According to Mr Forman, creating restorations with all-ceramic materials will continue to grow in popularity. "Innovations in CAD/CAM technology and the digitalization of the dental workflow have made working with all-ceramics easier and more cost-effective than ever before," he said. "All-ceramic restorations are quickly usurping territory that used to belong to noble metals. Ivoclar Vivadent is very excited to expand our portfolio and offer our dental laboratory customers more options in this area, including in support of the current trend of milling in-house."
The acquisition of Wieland Dental is just one step that Ivoclar Vivadent has taken towards staying ahead of changes in the dental industry and offering technicians and clinicians maximum versatility in the use of its products.
"In the future, Ivoclar Vivadent will continue to do everything we can to meet our customers' needs in both the clinic and laboratory," Mr Forman said. "As interest in all-ceramics increases, we want to always be a step ahead, anticipating what the industry will need next, while always keeping in mind our 'all-ceramic, all-options' philosophy."
In addition to the Zenostar materials, Ivoclar Vivadent has started offering Wieland dental milling machines. The cost-effective Zenotec Mini, for example, can mill ceramics for all indications including full-contour restorations.
The Zenotec mini is ideal for all laboratories, providing customers with the flexibility to mill a variety of materials. The Zenotec mini has 4-axis geometry and can automatically change tools and measure tool wear. Due to its compact size, the Zenotec mini is a cost-effective option for any lab that wishes to mill metal-free restorations. Lee Culp, CDT, Chief Technology Officer at Microdental Laboratory, originally believed that smaller mills, like the Zenotec mini, were better suited to a small laboratory environment, but after seeing the machine in action, he was sold on its capabilities even in a large laboratory environment. "We run our Zenotec mini mills 16-20 hours a day. These little machines are the backbone of our digital philosophy and I can run 20 of them in a room where I could only get one of the large industrial machines. Incorporating the mini into our operations has had a very positive impact on our business and our output capabilities," Mr Culp said.
The Zenotec mini is a 4-axis compact milling system that provides an efficient and quality milling capability in a variety of materials to the laboratory. The Zenotec mini is capable of milling wax, acrylic, PMMA and zirconium dioxide, including Zenostar full contour zirconia.
The use of a 4-axis system, top-quality high-speed spindle, integrated control electronics and custom-designed CAM manufacturing software make the Zenotec mini an ideal solution for all of the laboratory's "dry" milling needs. The system features six tool positions and an automatic tool length and breakage detection system. The built-in high frequency spindle provides high milling rates, while the precision spindle axis bearing ensures first-class surface quality.
Zenotec Select S2
At the next level, the new Zenotec select S2, with wet/dry milling capability due out later this year, will give laboratories the ability to "wet" mill IPS e.max inhouse as well as a range of other materials.
According to Mr Forman, the extremely popular IPS e.max owes its success both due to the quality and versatility of the material itself as well as Ivoclar Vivadent's strong marketing and brand image.
"Along with ongoing support, we will also offer marketing packages to new Wieland customers to help promote their systems to their own customers as well as through our authorized milling partner network. This will be a big marketing advantage," Mr Forman said.
Since the official roll-out of the Wieland range of CAD/CAM milling options began in July, six units have already been sold in both QLD and NSW with more to follow. Wieland Technical Specialist, Doug Stuart, has been amazed with the interest. "The most common feedback from customers has been the speed in which it mills, its predictability and its ease of use," he said.
"Most customers have been surprised that the Zenotec units can use most materials, including Wieland Zenostar and generic brands. The other comments are how small the machine is on the bench and how accurate the restorations fit."
Customers are familiar with Ivoclar Vivadent's support and service for Programat furnaces and this same infrastructure is now in place for Wieland equipment. Ivoclar Vivadent offer national and local support, along with online support from both Wieland and 3Shape. The service team also includes a fully trained milling technician.
The company will be planning a series of information evenings in coming months. These will consist of a lecture presentation of the system, followed by a material and characterisation demonstration. These presentations will take place in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide between September and December 2013. Wieland CAD/CAM courses will be included in the 2014 Professional Development Course programme.