Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Is Cad Cam Old Technology?

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What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been … Jerry Garcia … 2020 has come and gone and the residual effects will be with us for a long time.

Dental offices were shut down for months and the balance of the year was dedicated to playing catchup and figuring out how to continue running a profitable practice and accounting for all the additional expense.  The prices on PPE have more than tripled and you usually have to settle for what you can get. As a senior member of the dental industry with 45 years under my belt, I can assure you that prices won’t start stabilizing for some time to come. And, when or if a competitive market returns, it will never be lower than now. So what can we do about it? We need to keep as much as possible under one roof.

Cad Cam has been a dream that most dentists share, but at $150k with $3k-$5k in annual support costs and office would need to use the mill 20 times/month to break even. Cad Cam was introduced to dentistry over 35 years ago and it has advanced to become almost a sub-culture. Although Cad Cam fits well with larger practices, tell me what it can do that 3D printing can’t?

That’s right, 3D Dental Printing. During the shutdown and the following months with the new company, I became very interested in 3D Printing in Dentistry. There are a lot of 3D printers on the market  but only a few are dental specific. Dental specific means that the printer has been validated for dental resins. Dental Resins are approved by the FDA and the companies that make them have to validate every brand and model printer that their products will work with. That is the responsibility of the printer manufacturer. As an example, one of the top resin manufacturers in the world developed an incredible resin to produce custom night guards that are flexible and almost non breakable. A $450.00 bottle of resin will produce 75 night guards. Do the math! Now that is ROI.

Sometime in the next 18 months the FDA will be approving resins to produce permanent crowns. And did I mention that you will be able to print your own clear aligners. That, however, will require software for your impression scanner.

Dental 3D Printers are “plug & play” and will work with any impression scanner. Impression scanners have really advanced and there should be no reason why you should spend more than $20k on a scanner. Now you have a scanner/printer package for under $30k that in the very near future will do more than a Cad Cam System. 

In my personal opinion, 3D printing will become a standard in same day dentistry. I think that in the next 5 years every dental office will have a 3D printer. If you have an impression scanner your next investment should be a printer. If your financial advisor suggested an investment that would double in value in 6 months would you do it? A scanner/printer combo is under $30k and if used correctly, will pay for it’s self in less than 6 months (most practices) and from then on it’s all new revenue.

Explore 3D Dental Printing, it will impress your patients and have a positive effect on your practice.

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.

January 19, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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