For many over the last decade, purchasing CAD CAM has been a scary dark adventure: not understanding completely what you were buying, making this first mill purchase, likely the largest investment made in a single piece of equipment since owning a lab, and needing more than just the mill to make it work. Other confusion and questions come into play like what is the best price, best support, best materials, CAD CAM, scanner, sintering. You might start wondering, will I go broke doing all this? Well, odds are good that if you’re reading this, you have made it through the transition.
Like many lab owners, you may have been conservative selecting a lower-cost 4-axis mill solution. At the time, not a bad decision. Today, with the a clear view that CAD CAM and milling, now mainstream and here to stay, is an indication your investment was correct. In fact, most of you have likely reaped the financial reward of your purchase. As a result of past success, I would like to share some of the opportunities that exist for your lab by adding a 5-axis mill. It’s not about milling the small number of cases you can’t mill because you don’t have 5-axis capabilities, although this is certainly a benefit.
For any progressive lab in 2016, the number of added indications that 5-axis enables makes for opportunity to grow your lab by offering great new products. It is well known that the average dentist uses 3+ labs. That said, products you don’t offer to your existing customer are being provided by other labs. For best practice, YOU should become THE other lab.
For a starter, here are some products that can be fabricated in your lab with a 5-axis mill that will help you grow.
Surgical Guides are likely one of the most profitable products you can make in your lab. This service will also make for improved implant outcome, happier patients and dentists. This will also result in bringing you more implant work. Additional benefits, new relationships with oral surgeons and periodontists. With these new relationships come introductions to referring GP’s. All win-win.
Izir screw Retained Bridges made from zirconia are economical, predictable and superior to the conventional acrylic hybrid restoration. Dentists prescribing zirconia screw retained bridges is a fast growth area in dentistry. Recent research that concluded cement left behind in subgingival areas is the number one cause of implant failure. In addition, the new complexity of lab milled custom abutments has left many thinking about different case design plans.
Digital Dentures will become more mainstream in 2017. There are a few unique in lab workflows that will enable labs to do setup and wax-ups of a full upper and lower dentures in about 20 minutes. Having a 5-axis mill should enable milling bases form quality denture base materials. The savings on labor will make denture fabrication faster and more profitable than ever.
Splints and TMJ appliances most dentists are sending these somewhere. Produce them efficiently with CAD and a 5-axis mill.
Models from intraoral Impressions are becoming more popular. Producing a zirconia crown for $100 and paying $30 plus shipping for models is a really bad business model for any lab. If you have one or two accounts using IOS devices, milling models at night can pay for the entire mill lease on a monthly basis.
Learn more about 5-axis mills here.
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