SensAble Technologies eases the transition to digital dentistry with introduction of SensAble Dental Lab System

Chicago 25 February 2008At the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Show, SensAble Technologies Inc., a provider of 3D touch-enabled modelling solutions, has launched the SensAble Dental Lab System, an integrated solution to scan, design and fabricate common dental restorations. It is the first integrated digital solution to support the production process for partial frameworks, as well as crown and bridge substructures. The solution uniquely incorporates "3D virtual touch" technology so that lab technicians can "feel" the on-screen image - and work as naturally and directly with a computer-based system as they do when using traditional hand-waxing techniques.

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Over 50 million partials, crowns and bridges are created annually in the United States alone. Use of digital technology is projected to grow by 60 percent through 2012 (iDATA Research Inc. 2006 CAD/CAM Restorative report, as cited in Dental Lab Products, October 2007) as an estimated 40.000 dental technicians working in 12.000 labs make a step-change toward improved productivity and profitability. Over 47 percent of lab owners surveyed in January 2008 said they'd purchase a lab system for digital restorations if they could; it was the nr. 1 choice among all technology purchase options surveyed. (Dental Lab Products, January 2008 CAD/CAM and Technology Census, published in February 2008 issue.)

The SensAble Dental Lab System eases the transition to digital dentistry, because it enables lab technicians to leverage the skills, processes and know-how they've spent decades perfecting. For lab owners, the system delivers the ability to create partial frameworks - typically a lower margin, more complex dental prosthetic - in addition to the more common crown and bridge substructures, using a cost-effective, digital process.

Because the SensAble Dental Lab System is easy to learn and addresses multiple types of restorations, it allows labs of all sizes and levels of computer "savvy" to enter the digital domain. Labs can produce more digital restorations in less time, while maintaining consistent quality and delivering fast turnaround to the dentists they serve.

"As a dentist, I believe SensAble's system will ultimately reduce the number of chairside adjustments I have to make to dental restorations, while at the same time allowing me to serve my patients better in fewer visits", stated Dr. Ronald D. Perry, D.M.D., owner of Meridian Dental Associates in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, and associate clinical professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Perry is also Director of the Gavel Center for Restorative Research at Tufts. "There are other players enabling the benefits of digital dentistry, but this system is uniquely designed to allow the vast majority of dental labs to take advantage of them."

"Why design with a mouse on a flat surface using complicated software?" stated John Orfanidis, president of Orfan Dental Laboratory of South Weymouth, Massachusetts. "With SensAble's virtual touch approach, I am feeling the surface of the teeth that I am waxing. I simply pick up a stylus, and wax. Working this way allows me to be more accurate, repeatable and productive on a level that traditional waxing cannot achieve. I've had cases where I was able to complete my designs in half the time it would have taken me using traditional wax-up techniques."

The SensAble Dental Lab System consists of three components that have been tightly integrated to produce accurate, consistent results through scan, design and fabricate. Its software and user interface enable fast, flexible 3D design and modelling; provide case management tracking; and ensure a simple, reliable work flow for producing precise results. In-depth system integration, along with field-proven techniques for investing and casting, ensure a streamlined work flow and consistent results throughout the entire process.

Components include:

  • 3D Scanner: This creates an extremely accurate digital file from a plaster positive (or "stone"), which is made from a patient impression.
  • 3D Modeling and Design System: The design station includes SensAble Dental Lab System software for designing digital wax-ups, as well as SensAble's patented PHANTOM Desktop touch-enabled device, a high-end computer workstation and monitor. The design software provides a digital approach to traditional steps in the design process, speeding the design process and delivering consistent, digital results.
  • 3D Resin Printer: Once the digital wax-ups are complete, the system automatically creates files for the production of resin patterns. These printed parts are then sprued, invested, and cast in metal using traditional methods and materials.

The SensAble Dental Lab System is available in two configurations. A Scan/Design configuration is available for labs that want to design in-house, but outsource production. Labs can also choose to outsource completely simply by sending a stone to a SensAble Authorized Production Center.

A SensAble Authorized Production Center configuration is available for labs that want to produce parts in-house, and also have the option of providing production services for other SensAble Scan/Design customers. The SensAble Authorized Production Center configuration adds a 3D resin printer and related accessories to the Scan/Design system.

SensAble named NOBILIUM/TICONIUM, a unit of CMP Industries LLC, as its first announced Authorized Production Center. NOBILIUM/TICONIUM have been trusted names in the dental industry since 1934, and are suppliers of investment casting materials, alloys and equipment to the dental industry. The SensAble Authorized Production Center Programme complements the introduction of the SensAble Dental Lab System. General availability for the SensAble Dental Lab System in North America is scheduled for March 2008.

Outsourcing production is a popular business option for dental labs, with a January 2008 survey showing that nearly half of labs responding - 48 percent - use the services of a CAD/CAM outsourced production centre. SensAble Authorized Production Centers are certified to fabricate high-quality partial frameworks, copings and bridge substructures for their own customers, as well as for other labs using the SensAble Dental Lab System. By building an ecosystem of Authorized Production Centers, SensAble is fulfilling its commitment to customer choice - allowing dental labs of all sizes to select the best digital lab system configurations, materials, design preferences and output options to fit their businesses.

"Many smaller dental labs will enter the market cautiously, despite the strong growth that's projected for digitally-produced dental restorations", stated Bob Steingart, SensAble Technologies' president. "We are offering a range of ways for labs to enter the market - they can simply use the services of a SensAble Authorized Production Center, choose to implement scanning and design in-house and outsource fabrication, or become an Authorized Production Center with design services. We think it's a great model that provides flexibility for lab owners large and small to get into the digital restorations business", Bob Steingart stated. "We're particularly proud to have such an esteemed industry leader as NOBILIUM/TICONIUM as our first announced Authorized Production Center."

Labs that become SensAble Authorized Production Centers can expand their customer base and utilization rates for their equipment, providing economic efficiencies. To become a SensAble Authorized Production Center, a dental lab must be certified and adhere to strict procedural and material guidelines to ensure consistently high-quality results using the SensAble Dental Lab System.

"We applaud the way SensAble has created an ecosystem that is truly a paradigm shift for digital dentistry, and are very excited to be a SensAble Authorized Production Center", stated Devon Howe, President and CEO at NOBILIUM/TICONIUM. "Its sensory technology gives technicians tactile feedback during the design phase - you have to feel it to believe it. With their approach to digital restorations, everyone benefits - lab technicians can produce fast and accurate dental prosthetics, quality will be maintained throughout the production process, and dentists and their patients will receive high-quality digital restorations in less time."

NOBILIUM/TICONIUM, located in Albany, New York, are divisions of CMP Industries LLC, a major manufacturer of dental laboratory materials and equipment. NOBILIUM/TICONIUM specializes in partial denture products but also produces some important crown and bridge products such as base metal alloys and investments. CMP Industries LLC was founded in 1889 and evolved from a speciality metals company to a "100 percent dental" company. These products are marketed to 40 countries around the world.

Founded in 1993, SensAble Technologies is a developer of 3D touch-enabled - force feedback - solutions and technology that allow users to not only see and hear an on-screen computer application, but to actually "feel" it. With 32 patents granted and over 6000 systems installed worldwide, SensAble Technologies' haptic technology is being used in applications ranging from surgical simulation and stroke rehabilitation, to dental restorations, to designing toys and footwear; as well as a range of research and robotic applications. The company markets its own 3D modelling solutions as well as its haptic devices and developer toolkits to medical, dental, design, and manufacturing companies; educational and research institutions; and OEMs. SensAble products are available through direct and reseller channels worldwide.


Leslie Versweyveld

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