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CAD/CAM - international magazine of digital dentistry

I feature _ interview _Non-precious metal alloys are enjoying in- creaseddemandindentaltechnology.Additiveman- ufacturingwithlasermeltingensurestheuniformity and accuracy of ceramic-veneered, non-precious metal restorations created from powder using laser energy. Are the traditional manufacturing processes of dental technicians, such as casting and milling, making a comeback? CAD/CAM magazine spoke with Master Dental Technician Dieter Spitzer of Unicim,amanufacturerofdentalrestorationsbased inBerschisintheSwisscantonofSt.Gallen,Switzer- land. Digital process networking is linking dentists, laboratoriesanddentalmanufacturersmoreclosely thaneverandputtingeveryoneinvolvedunderpres- suretoact.Theentireprocesschain,fromimpression taking to prosthetic restoration, is undergoing a dynamic transition—a trend away from casting and toward digital additive manufacturing. _CAD/CAM:MrSpitzer,yourefertoUnicimasa digitalproductioncentre.Whatdoyoumeanbythat? DieterSpitzer:Unicimcombinestraditionalpro- duction methods with digital CAD/CAM manufac- turing, such as metal laser melting and powder- based plastic laser sintering. With rapid manufac- turing methods, you can select the most functional and affordable dental prosthetic solution based on your customer’s needs, be it crowns and bridges, frameworks, primary and secondary structures, or implant superstructures. _Can you give us an idea of the process of creat- ingdentalrestorationsfrommetallicpowdersusing additivemanufacturingtechnology? Once the 3-D CAD data is complete, the support structures are set up using data-processing soft- ware. Various software solutions are available for this purpose. One of the most common is CAM- bridge, which requires licence fees. Alternatively, there is AutoFab Mlab, which is licence-free and allows you to assign specific measurements. With Concept Laser’s systems, the customer is able to choose freely and is not bound by any software. The processeddataistransmittedtothemachineviathe network or USB port and the construction job is started. With this process, you can finish a project fully automatically overnight. Once complete, the components are removed from the building board andrefinished.Aftermanuallyremovingthesupport structures, the surface is then micro-blasted with aluminium oxide, and the crown edges are thinned down in the case of bridges. _Will milling and casting soon be a thing of the pastindentalprosthetics? Milling and casting will remain part of the stan- dard repertoire of dental laboratories for training and application. Additive manufacturing options will offer many advantages in the future and reduce productionriskenormously.Unfortunately,theyare still far too rarely seen in practice by dentists and dental technicians. Some of this has to do with the old school mentality of doing everything manually. The dental laboratory of the future will be more of Fig. 1_Tailor-made dental technologies: Master Dental Technician Dieter Spitzer offers traditional manufacturing along with CAD/CAM methods, such as laser melting of metals for dental restorations. All images courtesy of Concept Laser GmbH, Lichtenfels, Germany. Dentures produced using 3-D printing versus casting and milling 32 I CAD/CAM 3_2013 Fig. 1