Approved DAMAS for North America
Digital technology is changing not only the type of restorations we fabricate but the way we fabricate all restorations daily. As the popularity of monolithic all-ceramic restorations continues to increase, providing these restorations quickly at a competitive price is a necessity, but equally important is utilizing the digital workflow effectively to provide any restoration a dental client prescribes. This currently includes alloy-based restorations and most likely will for the foreseeable future.
At Ziemek Laboratories, maximizing the ROI on capital invested in technology by utilizing it for as many applications possible while maximizing the efficiency in our workflow is a top priority, and should be for any dental lab with a desire to be competitive in today's marketplace. Partnering with Strategy Milling for alloy restorations helps Ziemek Laboratories accomplish these goals. Fabricating Full Gold and PFM restorations traditionally is labor intensive. Let's consider the steps involved for a Full Gold restoration: waxing the restoration, sprueing/investing, burnout, casting, divesting, and fit/polishing. All steps requiring the hands-on labor of a skilled technician.
A few years ago at Ziemek Laboratories, we hand-waxed less than 10% of the alloy crowns we fabricated, the vast majority were CAD designed and wax printed in-house which eliminated the labor of hand waxing alloy restorations, but didn't eliminate the other previously mentioned steps required to produce them. In addition to the labor required to produce alloy restorations, we purchased and stocked large quantities of alloy for casting. Today, we utilize our wax printer for many other applications, have moved the skilled alloy technicians to other roles, and are more profitable on the alloy restorations we produce. How?
Sending the designed .stl files for alloy restorations to Strategy Milling has eliminated the labor steps associated with casting discussed above. With high noble and noble alloy available and milled full contour and coping/framework options, it has also improved our monthly cash flow by eliminating the need to keep large quantities of alloy in stock for casting. The marginal quality and overall fit of the milled restorations are superb, and the surface texture of the milled full gold crowns is so smooth compared to a casting that the polishing time is reduced by about 30%, saving us finishing labor.
Partnering with Strategy Milling has made our alloy restorations more profitable by reducing the amount of hands-on labor required to produce them, improved our monthly cash flow, and allowed us to maximize our digital efficiency.
I sent my first 3 FGC cases to Strategy Milling expecting some trial and error periods like I've had in the past with other milling services. What I found was that there were none. I even expected the margins to be bulkier like a normal CAD milled crown, but to my surprise the margins were impeccable and the fit truly astonishing... I recommend their services to anyone trying to speed up production and turn their lab fully digital like I have. This is a game changer!
The last two decades, I have witnessed a rapid advancement in various technologies for the fabrication of dental prosthetics, and one of my favorites still today is a FCG restoration. With the evolution of milling (CAM) technology, I sought out help in this area but never thought it was feasible from a manufacturing perspective as recollection of the milled metal would be hard and the waste would be great. I took all my crowns and frameworks digital with my inLab system and would mill wax or plastic and then refine the margins in wax and cast a group. I really thought I had gone fully digital, but in truth just digitized a small part of the process.
You see, I still had to sprue, invest, burnout, cast, divest and desprue. I had only made a dent in the time savings, the loss of material still remained and inventorying the metal still existed. But a few years ago I found Scott Mappin and Strategy Milling. Strategy had figured a way to collect 100% of their milled material and can even reform the material into new milling pucks. This made total sense to me, but then I moved on to see if it would be cost effective for my lab.
I was surprised to see the timesavings of the FCG crowns in my lab. I took 20 units and I did an average: my labor time involved in those 20 units went from hours each to a mere 18 minutes each. Yes, 18 minutes 11 seconds to be exact. I was able to streamline workflow to a fully digital and put in place a manufacturing system that mimics the all ceramic of my lab. Those now go hand in hand, same process happens - just scan then design - and instead of mill, we convert to STL and send to Strategy. This takes an average of 9 minutes 16 seconds and when I receive the crown back, it takes me 8 minutes 5 seconds to fit/finish to the crown. We also offer and do modeless crowns as well (87 in 2016 to be exact). Strategy was able to save us so much more than money, they save us a ton of time, which in turn allows us to take on more work and we are able to help even more patients. We love what we do daily and Strategy has been an integral part of our success story.
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