TEREC is a strategic alliance of 14 North American full service regional dental laboratories that convenes regularly to evaluate new technologies and processes that may offer a better way for them to serve dentists and their patients. As part of TEREC's Technology group, Dental Prosthetic Services is one of a handful of digitally-savvy dental labs that actively consults with leading vendors on the latest materials, products and techniques - then shares its findings both informally and at TEREC gatherings.
"Although we already have a number of other digital systems, we were impressed by the SensAble Dental Lab System's versatility and ease of use", stated Kristine Van Cleve, president of Dental Prosthetic Services (DPS). A 65-person full-service lab, Dental Prosthetic Services purchased the SensAble Dental Lab System because it is the only solution on the market for digitally designing and producing partials, as well as full-contour crown and bridge restorations.
"SensAble's system takes some of the most time consuming tasks in our lab, and makes them fast and efficient. While we're still new in our deployment, we believe the SensAble system will improve our productivity, deliver exceptionally high-quality results - and also improve our bottom line."
In an economy where productivity is paramount, SensAble's digital consistency and precision is laying the groundwork for DPS to produce more restorations with the same number of technicians - and gain the flexibility to handle multiple types of restorations from one extensible digital platform. The SensAble system has also allowed DPS to redeploy three staff members from jobs where they primarily handled manual waxing, and into positions where they perform virtual design tasks.
The SensAble Dental Lab System's key components include a 3D scanner, design system for creating partial frameworks and full contour crown and bridge, resin printer, and case management software that have been tightly integrated to produce accurate, consistent results in a streamlined work flow. The system uniquely incorporates force-feedback haptics, where technicians hold a touch-enabled stylus instead of a computer mouse - and work with virtual wax-up tools to literally "feel" the on-screen model as they apply, smooth and carve "digital wax". This approach mimics the traditional method of hand modelling dental restorations, allowing technicians to digitally design with unmatched speed and precision, while keeping the artistry and manual dexterity they've spent years perfecting.
"Our digital team embraced this new technology immediately", Kristine Van Cleve continued. "The haptic device allowed them to actually 'feel' the restoration they're designing on screen, making it intuitive to use and easy to learn. Our technicians doing traditional wax-ups can now see a newer, exciting career path for themselves using SensAble's system. For us, that means happier and more committed employees."
"TEREC is an organisation that is known for its forward thinking and technical savvy, so we are particularly excited to announce DPS as our first TEREC customer", stated Bob Steingart, president of SensAble Dental Products. "The SensAble Dental Lab System gives labs the design freedom they need to easily handle 'real-world' cases that are challenging and time consuming for many other CAD/CAM systems - while gaining productivity as well as digital accuracy, precision, and consistency."
The SensAble Dental Lab System is available in a full Production Center configuration, or as a Scan/Design system.
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 41 patents granted and over 7000 systems installed worldwide, SensAble Technologies' haptic technology is being used in applications ranging from designing toys and footwear, to surgical simulation and stroke rehabilitation, to dental restorations, 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. More company news is available in the VMW May 2009 article GMV's latest arthroscopic surgical simulator incorporates new virtual touch scenarios using SensAble's haptics.