New Innovations for Improved Workflow Optimization



With the advent of new scanners and scan software technology, dental labs once again can further optimize workflows to a new more efficient level. Through the recent 3Shape introduction of the “E” series scanners and new scan software, impression scanning has become viable. With this introduction, 3Shape has discontinued the D750, D850, D900L. The complete product line now includes the E1, E2, E3, D1000, and D2000.

Looking at the optimization opportunity, most labs can reduce manufacturing cycles by a full day. This will result in obvious competitive advantages for those who take advantage of the advancement. In addition, the general practicality of picking up cases on a Monday and returning it the following Friday for a Monday AM insertion is now viable. This service is what dentists are looking for. Many, or perhaps most dentists don’t work a five day week. Many patients will find it easiest to make appointments on a particular day of the week to be the most convenient. Developing this one-week or four-day door to door service will capture the opportunity for those who embrace it.

Looking at current zirconia production, it is difficult to work with the 4-day door-to-door workflow. Here is what many labs existing workflow looks like:

Day 1: Pickup, data entry

Day 2: Models and dies

Day 3: Scan, design, mill and sinter overnight

Day 4: Finish, stain and glaze, and QC

Day 5: Deliver

Through the development of both new scanners and scan software, scanning impressions will result in a full one-day reduction to the described workflow. To follow is the new impression scan workflow opportunity:

Day 1: Pickup, data entry, QC impression and scan impressions

Day 2: Model production with simultaneous CAD, mill and overnight sintering

Day 3: Merge models with sintered restorations, post process, stain and glaze and QC

Day 4: Deliver the case

Day 5: Cases can be inserted for a patient before going to work

An additional workflow alteration labs will need to make is to convert the die ditch staff to an impression QC and touch up. This is the inverse of ditching and cleaning up a slightly defective dies. Rather than a bard parker and rotary instruments, one would use an electric waxer, wax

instruments, and scan wax. There is a short learning curve to this but I would suggest that anyone capable of performing a quality die ditch can make the change quickly.

Let’s look at the technology which has enabled this change. All 3Shape scanners now use multi-line blue light scan technology. In addition, scan software has been improved with smart hole fill technology. This software enables the scanner to go back and scan areas where data is milling, or have resulted in holes. By refocusing the scanner on any given area, the data becomes complete as the holes are filled.

With the competitive nature of dental technology, it’s important for labs to optimize wherever possible. Looking at these new scanners and scan technology an “E” series scanner purchase can accommodate the workflow starting at just an $11K price point. I would suggest that nearly every lab can generate a positive ROI from the acquisition of new business by delivering in just 4 days. To learn more, call 800-496-9500 (option 9).

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