Attendance was down this year, most likely due to the exceptionally bad weather many of us have experienced this winter. The smaller than normal crowd gave us the opportunity to maneuver around the exhibit halls easier and allowed more one-on-one time with experts. The technological tide-shift toward digital dentistry was more palpable this year than ever. Almost every presentation was promoting a digital product. I can’t say there were standout breakthroughs in any prominent problem areas.
We were able to see a lot of really great products, none more impressive than the Ivoclar “Select” five axis milling machine. Smaller, and full of innovation, the Select makes five axis milling more practical and affordable for smaller labs like ours. We’ve been on the waiting list for a Select since last summer, so it was great to get a chance to see one up close and personal. The select is due to begin shipping next month, so stay tuned! As far as software goes, Exocad showed themselves to be a real standout and innovator in digital dentistry. We have been high on Exocad for a couple of years now, recognizing some of the serious benefits the platform offered. More about that soon as we are still in beta testing with several projects from multiple companies. We’re working really hard to bring some valuable new technology together for you.
Chair-side digital scanners are one of the things we get the most inquiries about. This year there was little in the way of progress on display. We’re hearing that there may be systems available soon that involve purchasing just a small scanning wand to use with your existing hardware and software as a fully open system. So, be on the lookout for that. I was, however, able to see and examine significantly higher quality printed models than those most commonly used today. We need a few COS scans to do some test cases, but it would be significant to have this part of the digital challenge solved. We’ll keep you filled in on our findings.
On the implant front, CAD/CAM abutments continue to be heavily recommended over stock or custom UCLA type abutments. We wholeheartedly agree. The Atlantis CAD/CAM gold hue patient-specific implant abutments are delivering a much better product both functionally, and aesthetically. They’re by far our first choice.
The Zirkonzahn Prettau type bridges were shown by just about every presenter speaking about implants. We started with the Zirkonzahn system last year and have already restored over 100 cases. The protocol is, at times, more challenging and requires a higher level of doctor/lab communication than is common. We’ve found your best results will come when there is extra care given to the diagnostic setup and establishing proper tooth size and position.
The American Equilibration Society meeting was great as always, with some exceptional programs presented. The American Academy of Restorative Dentistry also offered an impressive lineup of programs, including offering three of our own clients as speakers and presenters! I would like to encourage everyone to consider attending both of these meetings next year. I can assure you they will, once again, provide exceptional programs. If you’re interested in the material covered, I ordered DVD’s from both meetings. We’ve compiled an impressive library of dental education resources here at Bay View, all available to share. Feel free to let us know if there are any areas of interest you’d like to do research. We may have the resources to help you.
Overall it was another very successful meeting. We heard some great speakers and saw some tremendous programs. We may bring some of these programs to our own facility in the near future. I heard valuable feedback from many customers and have returned with plenty to work on for the rest of the year.