With the dental industry moving towards chairside milling for clinics, digital production solutions company Telpro Management launched electronics manufacturer Roland’s DWX-52DC tooth milling machine last month.
“The move by industry to chairside milling means that a patient can get a replacement crown or bridge made in about an hour at the dentist’s office, as opposed to waiting six weeks for the traditional procedure of replacements being made in a laboratory,” says Telpro Management CEO Bob Glenister.
The DWX-52DC is fully automatic, has a library to store all the discs used to make the teeth and lets the user know which part of the discs have been used, which makes for efficient use of disc space and cost saving.
“This option also makes teeth replacement more accessible for people who cannot afford it, because the average price to produce a crown with these machines is R350, compared with the longer production process that can add up to at least R5 000.”
Glenister mentions that the traditional process required labour-intensive practices, such as taking an impression of the patient’s teeth, designing a replacement tooth, crown or bridge, and sending it to a laboratory where the replacements are put in an oven to be sintered for at least 16 hours.
“This traditional process used zirconia to make teeth since it has the advantage of a ‘green state’, which allows for machining and baking to achieve the same hardness as a tooth.”
With the advent of intra oral scanning, the DWX-4W milling machine, which is a wet milling machine in Telpro Management’s range, eliminates the requirement for a casting and allows that teeth replacements can be designed onscreen using the Exocad software.
Glenister notes that the DWX-4W milling machine shortens the manufacturing time and is more cost effective and limits the amount of intrusion in a patient’s mouth.
The range of Roland machines provided by Telpro Management include the initial DWX-50, DWX-51D and DWX4, with the DWX4 being a small version of the DWX-51D machine, and the DWX-4W, which is a wet dental milling machine.
The wet dental milling machine works with glass ceramics and composite resin, compared with dry milling, which works with lithium disilicate, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and zirconia.
PEEK is a high-performance engineering plastic that is easy to work with and used as a material to make dental plates. Traditionally, titanium was used for dental plates, but PEEK is a new-age option.
Glenister points out that, before the advent of milling machines, the manual process of making replacement teeth were labour- and energy-intensive, because multiple processes with equipment needed to be used, but the milling machines can be operated by one person and the milling machines have a high energy saving rating.
To date, Telpro Management has installed 26 of Roland’s range of milling machine units in South Africa. Roland has 1 100 units being used in the US and 700 units in Europe.
“In the US, there is no requirement for laboratories to be licensed, so anybody can make teeth,” Glenister points out.
He explains that the South African market is slow to adopt and use this technology because there is a lack of awareness and also a resistance from the dental guilds in the industry.
“Many guild members feel threatened by new technology and believe that it replaces the quality of work involved in manually making replacements,” he says, adding that usually the process of designing and manufacturing replacement teeth required qualification and years’ worth of skills and experience.
However, Glenister notes that the technology is beneficial because it takes all available knowledge on teeth-making and puts it into one piece of software and machinery.
“Anyone can learn in a few days how to make a perfectly shaped replacement. The software is designed to show the operator how the replacement should be positioned and what the patient’s bite will look like.”
Further, Telpo Management will exhibit at the Dental Technology Association of South Africa summit on July 21 to 22 at the Boardwalk Hotel in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape.
The company will also attend the South African Dental Association congress and exhibition on August 4 to 6 at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town, the Western Cape.