Quo vadis dental ceramics?
This year’s IDS again showed that there is a lot going on in the world of dentistry. Innovations are following hard on the heels of each other. These are exciting times. Nevertheless, many dental technicians are probably wondering in which direction dental ceramics will be developing, which trends and new products they should expect and how these innovations will influence their work.
The best thing in this case is to ask someone who is in the know: for example, Tobias Specht, Director Fixed Prosthetics at Ivoclar Vivadent. In the following interview, he offers a few insights into what the future has in store for dental technicians.
Mr Specht, where do you expect the development of dental ceramics to go?
Tobias Specht: I would say that the trend continues to move towards all-ceramics. Efforts are being made to enhance the esthetics of high-strength materials and to bring out the best in these materials in terms of the combination of high-strength and esthetics. In this context, IPS e.max Press Multi ingots present an excellent example: This high-strength, multi-coloured material requires only one press cycle. The pressed monolithic restorations look like they have been built up in layers, yet they demonstrate very high overall strength. Moreover, considerable advancements have been made with regard to oxide ceramics and zirconium oxides in particular. Developments are concentrated on creating more translucent and esthetic products.
And what are your views on metal-reinforced ceramics?
Tobias Specht: We have not seen any real innovations coming out in this field in the past few years. Nonetheless, there is a demand for very compact, multi-purpose systems which will allow dental technicians to achieve their goals more quickly and easily – without having to compromise on esthetics.
Are there any additional trends to look out for?
In general, development efforts are focused on enhancing efficiency, productivity and esthetics and on automating manufacturing procedures, digitalizing processes and combining manual and digital techniques. In addition, minimally invasive preparation is gaining in popularity: in other words, preparing as little as possible and as much as needed. As a result, adhesive cementation techniques are becoming more important and by extenstion the ceramics that are suitable for these applications.
How should dental technicians react to these trends? How can they best prepare themselves?
Tobias Specht: In all-ceramic and metal-ceramic techniques, the trend is moving towards automated fabrication. Therefore, I would recommend that dental technicians closely analyze their market environment. They should ask the following questions with regard to the topic of CAD/CAM in particular: Is the technology suitable for my laboratory? Is the order volume of my laboratory high enough for me to invest profitably? Do I have to or want to make the investment, or would it be more prudent to out-source these procedures initially?
One thing is quite clear: In future it will be impossible to work without digital techniques. Digital technology is here to stay. As a result, dental technicians should decide quite quickly how they intend to integrate digital technology into their laboratory and how they will make the transition from manual to digital techniques. No clear rule is available for this purpose. The correct approach depends on the individual situation of the laboratory.
Numerous dental technicians today are probably wondering if they still have a future and if manual work will soon become obsolete.
Tobias Specht: It is an undisputed fact that dental technicians will always be needed. Nevertheless, certain manual jobs will be computerized. For example, wax-ups will no longer be fabricated by hand, but constructed with the help of a computer. An increasing number of restorations will be created monolithically, which means that fewer restorations will need veneering. However, the final touch, in particular with regard to esthetic and functional restorations or Smile Design cases, will require the skill and expertise of dental technicians including their highly-developed sense of shape and shade. They have been trained to fuflil the needs of the patient.
Thank you very much for this interview Mr Specht!
We value your opinion!
What do think about today‘s trends in dental ceramics? Do you agree with the views presented, or do you have another opinion? Do you have any other points you would like to address? Please share your thoughts with us!
Learn more about our six brand new products for the fabrication of ceramic restorations. Watch the video now and register to get the latest product information!