With the emergence and growth of CAD/CAM dentistry and fabrication of simple in-office dental restorations, one might regard this as a threat to the dental laboratory technician. However, the experience, expertise, knowledge, and guidance provided by the dental lab technician are critical for successful outcomes for our patients, especially for larger, more sophisticated cases. The lab technician remains a vital member of the dental team from the initial diagnosis to the delivery of the final restoration, as well as during long term maintenance. The importance of this relationship is elaborated upon in an article by Lee Culp, CDT & Lida Swann, DDS. Comments?

Cary Feuerman, DMD

Periodontal Associates

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  • I like that you posted this- it shows you understand the value of a dental lab. Everyday we receive implant cases that the GP's ask us to perform miracles in restoring. 99% of the time this could have been avoided with the proper presurgical planning. My partner works with his brother (located in the same building) he is a Prosthodontist who has been placing implants for 15 years, teaches at Loma Linda Univ and for Zimmer- he works with us, communicates, and see us 2-3 times per day in planning cases. This is what every surgeon should have- a go to lab to help with case planning along with the GP prior to implant placement. Enough preaching.....
  • The following comments have posted on behalf of James Stein:

    "Cary, I read the article and actually have received training by both authors at the D4D university in Tx. They are correct and on the leading edge of the new relationship between the dentist, patient and dental technologist. Specifically it has been a transition for me to treat the patient while at the same time being online in the operatory with an E4D technician as we design the restorations. This is only necessary for the more complex clinical situations or during the initial learning curve. 80 percent of the time there is no active support required. In general this new technology is an advantage for the general practitioner placing all ceramic restorations. Digital scans eliminate impression trauma and detail error. The opportunity to have an active, real time,online dental technician in the operatory is ideal."
  • James, thanks for your comment. Please check out the article that is linked in the original blog post. What are your thoughts about lab involvement in larger, multi-unit cases? Do you concur with the premise of the article, especially as it relates to the general practitioner? Mike Girard has also posted some interesting thoughts and alternatives for dentists and lab technicians who do not have in-office milling machines.
  • I agree in concept with your comments but the reality in daily practice is different. As a user of the E4D digital scanner and CAD/CAM milling machine for single unit milled ceramic restorations the traditional relationship with the dental technician has been eliminated. The scanner eliminates the traditional impression making process and often the production of stone working casts. Similarly, the ability to produce the highest quality single unit ceramic restorations at a single visit not only eliminates the dental technician but alters the traditional delivery sequence of patient care. Certainly all cast restorations are still produced under the traditional mode but high strength ceramics are the future.
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