Growing Your Lab with Technology from 3Shape & 3D Printing

With a current vision for growth, most dental lab owners understand how difficult this is through core products. As a result, it’s imperative to grow through more of a niche market, product or service. Today, growing a lab with basic crown and bridge restorations has become much more difficult. I’m of the opinion that this is best accomplished in an area of comprehensive dentistry. As digital technologies become more sophisticated and used more widely, these technologies that were deemed out of reach for most labs are now becoming readily available.

From the perspective of the laboratory, dentist and patient, the use of a guided surgery when placing implants will generally make for superior placement. As a result, manufacturing the final prosthesis and the end result is often superior. This may not be a huge factor for single tooth replacement but certainly becomes more important as the complexity of the case increases.

Currently, several implant manufacturers and some labs provide guided surgical solutions. Current solutions are generally expensive, resulting in most cases being done using a more old school (or non guided) approach. 3Shape, the worldwide leader in dental lab scan and CAD software has just launched what I believe can be a game changing software, “Implant Studio”. Today in North America, 3Shape is the clear leader in the CAD market. That said, there are thousands of labs that if desired, can now offer guided surgery solutions through advances from 3Shape.

The new Implant Studio enables uploading of the CBCT scan into 3Shape. This data is then merged with either an STL scan file obtained from conventional model scan or an STL file from an intraoral scan device such as the Trios. Once the two files are merged into Implant Studio, the implant placement planning can begin. This software is very similar to many other planning software solutions currently on the market. Once planned, 3Shape then enables quick design of surgical guides. This is done using all the same tools that current 3Shape users utilize every day. Once the plan and guide are designed, the guide can be either milled or printed. For milling, one can use a clear PMMA material. For printing surgical guides, the Objet OrthoDesk printer and Med 610 clear biocompatible resin is likely the more economical solution. The OrthoDesk printer now has a good track record for use in many Ortho labs and is reported to be quite dependable and cost effective. In addition, with the current cost of surgical guides being $400-500, the ROI for purchasing Implant Studio and the OrthoDesk does not require a large volume of cases. In fact, the ROI shows a positive return with just three guides per month over a four year term.

At this time in dental technology, it is imperative for labs to look for avenues for new growth. There is no question, labs that provide quality comprehensive solutions such as surgical guides will be more likely to grow and also receive the final restoration. There are several different business models that can help insure this. In addition, implant supported restorations are projected to grow and as a lab product is one of the more highly profitable products a one can provide. Offering a surgical guide solution will inevitably bring in more implant work, grow your customer base, sales and your bottom line.

For a video review of this new exciting software click here:

For information on submitting a case, please visit:

Thanks for reading,

Bob Cohen, CDT

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