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01 Jan 2004 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Stoneglass takes the lead in CAD/CAM manufacturing

CAD/CAM

Sydney-based Stoneglass Laboratories has taken the lead in manufacturing CAD/CAM crown and bridge copings for its own clientele as well as numerous other dental laboratories across the country following its purchase of the Cercon smart ceramic system from Dentsply.


Stoneglass proprietor, Mr Georges Sara, has long pioneered Zirconia as the material of choice for computer designed and manufactured crown and bridge copings and is finally seeing his hard work and persistence paying off.

"The use of Zirconia as a restorative material has been growing in popularity for some time," Mr Sara said, "to the point where it is now widely accepted as the new material of choice. It is incredibly strong and has a number of advantages over metal-based copings and other all ceramic systems.

"From a commercial perspective, it was then a matter of investing in the right system that would allow us to produce Zirconia units fast, accurately and cost-effectively to the highest quality. Installing the new Cercon smart ceramic system from Dentsply has enabled us to finally achieve this."

According to Mr Sara, Stoneglass Laboratories is currently producing solid Zirconia copings for 56 dental labs located in WA, SA, Vic, Qld and NSW.

"We have a simple pricing model. We charge $95 for a single coping on a waxed-up model or $110 if we design the restoration for the client. We charge $110 per unit for bridges from a waxed-up model and $140 a unit if we design the bridge and wax it up. We can mill up to an 8-unit bridge from a single solid Zirconia block. We offer a turnaround time of three days for a single crown and four days maximum for a bridge. Our service also includes frameworks on implants.

"Labs know the money and skill is in building the porcelain and not in the framework," he continued. "By offering this service, we give labs the opportunity to build-up their restorations on the best possible foundation."

According to Mr Sara, a key advantage for dental labs using the service is that the copings are guaranteed to fit.

"We are the most experienced lab in the country when it comes to CAD/CAM manufacture. When a lab supplies a waxed-up model, they will get an identical coping from solid Zirconia in return. If we design the coping for the client, then it is guaranteed to fit the supplied model."

Mr Sara said that approximately half the labs using the service send wax-ups with the other 50% leaving the coping design to the Stoneglass team.

"Using CAD/CAM systems is a steep learning curve," Mr Sara said, "and one that the majority of labs don't want to embark on. The cost of setting up a Zirconia milling centre and obtaining the knowledge and know-how does not come cheap. Today Australian dentists can stay loyal to their trusted dental laboratory and still access our knowledge and experience.

"During my 20 year career, dentists have always directed their laboratory into certain directions. If the dentist wants a certain type of restoration and their laboratory doesn't have the equipment and knowledge, they will find a laboratory that does. Zirconia is fast becoming the new material of choice and when the dentist requests it, the laboratory owner no longer has to feel anxious about losing the business because we can deliver exactly what they need without all the up-front investment.

"Today Stoneglass helps the laboratory owner and their clients to access the latest advances in material choice without the stress of a long term financial commitment. The only choice they have is what porcelain systems to buy and at Stoneglass we even help them choose the system that caters for their needs. We invite technicians to spend time on our premises to learn how we do it and that makes them comfortable, because they don't need to rush out and spend their hard earnt money in a hurry. This service also helps their clients to access the latest materials knowing that an experienced lab like Stoneglass is helping their dental technician along.

"At Stoneglass we are committed to a long term future in providing Zirconia frameworks to the profession. We are not selling machines or dental systems to keep our market committed to us only; we sell our knowledge and experience that ends up in patients' mouths, even if we don't know the dentist or the patient. It is a great thrill when the profession accepts our product with pride and excitement."

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