Product Consistency is Critical to Keeping Customers


Earlier this month I posted a blog titled “Improve On-time Delivery with Root Cause Analysis.” The basis of the post was how on-time delivery is critical to keeping customers. Rethinking this post, I have determined there are several more reasons that dentists change labs. Another one is product consistency.

For many labs this is extremely challenging. Large labs with many technicians may produce restorations that look different simply due to the art of dental technology. Other challenges include technical issues that crop up in workflows, technicians just having a bad day, fluctuations in chemical-based processes and inconsistent work from an outsource partner.

The Art of Dental Technology

Digging deeper into some of the above, I would love to share how CAD CAM makes most of us more consistent. First, the art of dental technology. When working in an analog environment, each technician has their own interpretation of anatomy. As a result, a wax-up or layered ceramic unit given to five different technicians will each look unique. When designing with CAD and a CAD library, all the units regardless of the designer will look more alike, resulting in a more consistent product.

Reduce Complexities

Next we see an almost completely different product offering when comparing analog to CAD CAM. Most CAD CAM restorations today are monolithic. As a result, we eliminate the complexities of bonding unlike materials such as metal and ceramics and even ceramics to different ceramics. This is adding to the consistency and life expectancy of our work.

In the analog world, obtaining consistent work from each technician requires self discipline. A great ceramist without discipline will not produce consistent work. I’m suggesting no cutting of corners and getting it right every time. Unfortunately, self-discipline is not in the makeup of most human beings. I believe this single human trait to be critical to success in business as well as many other aspects of one’s life. (I think I just came up with a new blog topic).  All CAD CAM equipment is built with tolerances and all products can be scanned and manufactured to these clinically acceptable, consistent, high-quality tolerances. Machines, as long as we keep them well-maintained, produce consistently.

Eliminate Chemical Reactions

Last, but certainly not least is the importance of eliminating steps that include chemical reactions. These include setting impression materials, die stone and casting and/or pressing investments. All have setting expansion and result in a dimensionally different output. Bonding of unlike materials is likely the least understood process in most labs, but certainly mission-critical. Curing of poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) in the digital world, takes place before we finalize the form factor. In the analog workflow we cure PMMA to final shape.  When converting the analog procedures to digital, we either eliminate the chemical reaction related error or the chemical reaction takes place as a pre-prosthetic part manufacturing step. For example, the manufacturing of a PMMA disc and related chemical reaction and then milling the disc to the desired form.

In conclusion, CAD CAM helps eliminate the problems and loss of customers due to inconsistent work. In addition, due to recent hardware and software developments I believe there is a system for nearly every lab. For a customized best-in-class CAD CAM solution for your lab, feel free to call us at 977-977-7889.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Cohen, CDT

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