PFM. Relevant or Relic?

Relevant or Relic?
If current trends hold, PFMs may become obsolete
Allison M. DiMatteo, BA, MPS, and Kathryn Latanyshyn, BA, MLIS
With continuous developments in material science and technology, dentistry keeps evolving and embracing innovative ways to ensure patients receive the best in oral healthcare. In the process, some professionals may bid farewell to the methods and materials that have been the traditional “go to” choices. In recent years, the treatment modality falling repeatedly to the wayside is the traditional porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) restoration.
In a 2013 survey conducted by Lab Management Today, 40% of respondents reported a decline in PFM fabrications, although fewer than 10 years earlier, respondents noted that nearly 85% of all crown and bridge work completed was metal-based. Perhaps directly related, 60% of these same survey participants reported a significant increase in the use of pressable lithium disilicate (IPS e.max®, Ivoclar Vivadent, over the past 2 years, and nearly 50% reported an increase in the use of zirconia layering ceramic.1
Additionally, approximately 15% of all dentists today have a CAD/CAM system within the practice. According to Michael Augins, president of Sirona Dental, Inc., when in-office CAD/CAM is used, all the materials available for those systems are metal-free ceramics. Therefore, 15% of dental restorations will be non-PFM and metal-free based on in-office CAD/CAM usage. “But the truth is, about 70% of all laboratories fabricate restorations through CAD/CAM,” he adds.
If the PFM market is waning and patient concerns about and desires for esthetic restorations are answered with easier, quicker fabrication methods (eg, in-office and/or laboratory/milling center CAD/CAM systems), then dental teams and laboratories alike must be prepared to adopt new approaches for delivering case-specific treatments.
“As we move from analog to digital, from metal to metal-free, and from handmade […]

By |July 25th, 2014|Categories: Articles||0 Comments

Here Come the Millennials

Here Come the Millennials
Familiarity with cutting-edge technologies allow new dental graduates to pursue a different path than their predecessors
By Ellen Meyer
Since the turn of the millennium, new dentists entering practice have shown themselves to be different than earlier generations. Digital natives who have grown up with computers, as well as ever-smarter phones and devices, they are more at home with technology—using intraoral cameras, digital scanners, and devices to immediately transmit pertinent case information to team members, including staff, collaborating specialists, and laboratory technicians. They also communicate differently, and are completely at home sharing information via social media, SMS texting, and email. Even to the most casual observer they are noticeably different. This group of dentists is more culturally diverse than groups in the past, and nearly 50% of new graduates are now female.
These younger dentists also face different challenges than their predecessors. The global recession of 2008, the advent of corporate dentistry, the demands of dental insurance, and the skyrocketing cost of dental school have left many struggling under an unprecedented burden of debt without the clear path to prosperity followed by earlier generations.
Given the current scenario, these millennial dentists tend to have different needs, expectations, and working styles than their more experienced counterparts. There is little tolerance for the glitches that were par for the course in the past. They need to work efficiently with all dental team members to be profitable in the face of new practice realities and patient expectations. This means finding ways to deliver consistent quality in a shorter timeframe, and expanding communication capabilities to avert negative outcomes, extra chairtime, and disgruntled patients. For laboratory owners wanting to cultivate and retain customers from this crop of dentists, the ability […]

By |June 17th, 2014|Categories: Articles||0 Comments

Interdisciplinary Dentistry at Its Best

How like-minded dentists and technicians who work as true partners stand to profit most

By Ellen Meyer

The relationship between the dental technician and the dentist is unlike most customer-vendor relationships, mainly in that their jobs are so interdependent—they need to work together effectively as true partners to succeed. The technician can only produce restorations that meet exacting standards if the dentist provides the information that can make that possible, and they must both be accessible and responsive to efficiently execute the treatment plan together to the patient’s satisfaction. The best of these relationships is built on mutual trust and compatible working styles, and perhaps, most of all, a shared vision. Those dentist-technician partners who have achieved a well-honed working relationship place a high priority on accountability, high professional standards, and the use of the latest technology to facilitate communication.
Identifying The Right Partners
Finding such a partner doesn’t typically occur through happenstance. As in personal relationships, which they often become, “chemistry” is important, as are shared goals and the ability to balance one another. The partnership may be “set up” via mutual professional associates, or find its beginnings at gatherings focused on the professional interests the dentist and technician share.

Arnold Liebman, an Assistant Clinical Professor at New York University College of Dentistry with a private practice in Brooklyn, New York, has clicked with like-minded team partners of all kinds through co-education. He says he enjoys being around dentists and technicians who are educators and are invested in continuing education. “I always look for technicians who are using and understand technology, basically those who are on the forefront of the dental field,” he adds.

Among those who fit this description is his frequent partner, Robert Kreyer Jr., CDT, who […]

Determination and Communication of Color

The determination and communication of color in dentistry is based on dated concepts that cause difficulty for clinicians and technicians who use their personal experiences to interpret this parameter, which is so important in aesthetic care. In this article, the author proposes a concept of color that has evolved from the observation and study of extracted and in vivo natural dentition. This research has been performed with the aim of providing the clinician with a predictable method of determining color from clinical evidence.

Choose Value over Cost – The Smart Cheap Crown

Our experience as a dental laboratory and as people has taught us that it’s instinctive to explore the lowest cost options first; however, there’s a significant difference between cost and value when calculating your return on investment. We’ve discovered that when affordability is a criteria, it’s critical to have a partner that will help you grow your business at the appropriate pace.

Identify Unmet Needs

All business coaches teach to question anyone who doesn’t first attempt to understand your unique business strategy. This is not a one-crown-fits-all industry so it’s important to begin by helping our clients identify their unmet needs. Quality and affordability of restorations are important, but a true partner goes further to offer high-level support and cooperative strategy planning. It’s our mission to help dental practices navigate the radically progressing industry, and you’ll discover that we deliver a simple, concise, and logical approach to meeting today’s dentistry demands.

Prove It Approach

The true measure of success in the dentist – lab partnership is found in the growth of mutual business. We want to help clinicians in our network grow their businesses, and we see ourselves as a strong channel to help develop relationships and compete on a value-added basis rather than encouraging unsustainable downward market pricing.
The opportunity is to get to know us by the quality of our work and experience the depth of our support. We have an enthusiasm for education and a genuine desire to understand your growth strategy. Call us today to see how our unique approach to the doctor – laboratory relationship can support your practice.

Dustin Earnest

Is your website driving mobile users away?

Patients are not only visiting your practice’s website from their home computers, they’re looking at your site from their mobile devices. The problem is that if you do not have a mobile-optimized site, the conventional desktop version on a patient’s smartphone or tablet looks and performs poorly.

With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets today, a mobile presence for your practice is a must-have. Patients expect their mobile experience to be just as good as their desktop visit to your site. Considering how connected people are to their mobile devices, it’s surprising how few dentists have optimized their traditional website for mobile platforms.

Do not lose potential patients to a poor mobile website experience. Cater to your growing mobile audience and optimize your site before patients look elsewhere. Adapted from Glenn Lombardi “Is your website driving mobile users away?”

Contact Dustin directly at to find out how we can create an optimized web experience for your patients across all devices.

Making the Right Choice by Dr. Malcmacher

Look at all the technology choices we now have in dentistry that we’ve never had before. I don’t care if you’re going to practice for one or 40 years, you’ll have to choose the technologies for your office to practice dentistry in the future. The choices in technology are becoming more complicated and involved. The right choice of technology for your office can rapidly improve patient care and your productivity, which translates to your bottom line. The wrong technology can make clinical care more invasive and complicated, and can put your office out of business. This is why it’s crucial for you to have a well-thought-out process as to how you evaluate which technologies belong in your office.

There are no good or bad technology choices. It all comes down to what services your office provides now, the kind of office you want to have, and the kind of clinical care you want to provide. Let me show you the thought process we go through in our offices when we look at dental technology choices.

There are basically two kinds of dental technology:

Integrative technology — Examples of integrative technology include patient engagement systems, digital imaging, dental lasers, and digital radiography. Integrative technology means that you do not have to change your office or the way you practice dentistry. Let’s take dental lasers as an example. The beauty of an all-tissue dental laser (iPlus, is that once you learn how to use it, you can prepare teeth as fast as a high-speed handpiece without having to deliver local anesthesia. You can wheel this all-tissue laser into your office, park it right next to you, and get to work right away. You prepare teeth the way you […]