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a blog by Chris Barrow

The next frontier in dentistry and implants - a guest blog from Dr Marcos White

I’m frequently contacted by people who have products and services of relevance to my clients. For over 25+ years I have maintained a policy that I do not accept introducers fees or commissions – I simply broadcast and comment on good ideas.

I was about to take to the stage to present my last lecture at the IDS in Cologne when I met an old colleague and we went for a quick coffee.

In his current role he is advising a big lab conglomerate on how to navigate the digital waters and what he said to me was so impactful that I ended up including it in my presentation.

“I walk around the stands here and I think; extinct, extinct, extinct,” he said pointing to imaginary people and imaginary industries.

It made me think of all the emerging products and materials that will be extinct or obsolete by the time they hit the market. Because digital and the ideas driving it are moving SO fast.

Like the mini disc player from the early noughties for those who remember it. It filled a tiny period of existence between the portable CD player and the iPod. Smaller than a CD player and allowed you to put together your own mix albums. But 2 years later a digital device would be thought up and launched that would make it useless and obsolete.

So enough metaphors, what am I seeing, what am I describing.

3D printing is the iPod.

A 3D printer in the dental practice does already enable a dentist to print models and with a vacuum former to create whitening trays etc, but that’s not the disruption I’m talking about.

I’m talking about 3D printing definitive restorations. This relies on definitive resins coming to market in all the required shades. And they are coming or already here, depending on what printer you own.

The other disruptive technology you need to have access to is remote design.

Intra oral scanner.

3D printer.

Definitive resins.

Remote digital designer (RDD).

Let’s take a scenario of a simple posterior crown. Once the prep is done, a scan is taken and sent to a remote digital designer. They design your crown and send it back to you within 30 minutes. You print it in under 30 minutes and fit it.

Chair side printing of a definite crown where the resin cost was £1. No need for a model. No need for a temp.

What about something more complex, OK what about the the MOST complex thing you can do in dentistry: full arch implant bridgework.

Same process. Just on a larger scale.

The patient attends to have their teeth removed, 6 implants are placed (either guided or freehand dependent on preference), scans are taken of the implants and sent to the remote digital designer. A full arch implant bridge is sent back to the dentist within 30 minutes. You print it in under 30 minutes and fit it. And it’s accurate every single time.

And the resin costs were £10.

This 3D printed bridge is screwed directly to the implants at multi unit abutment level meaning there is ZERO need for a technician or any human to retro fit any aspect to the printed bridge. You just screw it in.

What if I told you that we are already carrying out this process for our course delegates and our lab customers.

This is disruptive thinking. It’s the combination of emerging technologies and a ‘we’ll see about that’ attitude to the incumbent processes in implantology.

Speed. Efficiency. Less humans. More profit. All the things that digital thinking has always wrought on existing business models.

What if I told you a business model where an implant patient would join your practice on a subscription model after completing treatment, and that for £29 a month - if they fractured their implant bridge - your practice would print a new one for as long as they are on plan. And you knew that the continual improvement in the resin would make this a no brainer.

Un. Be. Lievable.

So whether it’s a single posterior dental crown, a full arch implant bridge or anything in between you have now witnessed the extinction of the analogue dental laboratory.

It’s entire business model just got hit by a meteor. And all you need to be part of the next evolution is a 3D printer and access to remote digital design.

Let Velvet Digital help you with both.

We intend to provide our customers a monthly lease of a Velvet approved 3D printer, support and training in the basics of print maintenance and the remote digital design you need to deliver what your patients want.

We believe we’re the iPhone and we want to help you become the practice of the future.

Click HERE to receive information on our tiered monthly packages and arrange a zoom call to discuss your need

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