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CAD/CAM - international magazine of digital dentistry

34 I I feature _ interview system. The unit can be used with dental materials certified under the German Medical Devices Act, such as rematitan CL from Dentaurum. Because of the high amount of material waste, milling-based processing of titanium is too expensive and casting is highly impractical. _Whataresomeoftheproblemsthatariseinthe castingoftitanium? The reaction of titanium with oxygen causes the formation of an alpha-case layer on the outside. This leads to embrittlement of the surface and must be removed. If not removed, it can lead to problems with the adhesion of veneering. With LaserCUSING, no alpha-case layer forms. This makes laser melting with titanium powder excellent for processing. The very fine-grained microstructure of the laser-fused parts of this titanium alloy allows greater firmness than with conventional castings. The dentist re- ceives a high-performance, long-life alternative that is easy to work on and more affordable than a precious metal solution. Finally, dentists and pa- tientscanbenefitfromaqualityproductthatisboth durable and natural in appearance. _Howdoestitaniumcompareintermsofprice? The price of the Dentaurum titanium powder we use is currently around €595 per kilogram; a four-unit bridge weighing 4 g thus costs €2.40 in material alone. _Why has laser melting been so slow to catch on inthedentalindustry? Thereasonsforthisaremany.Theprocessisrela- tivelynew,sothelearningcurveislong.Thefactthat the quality of laser-fused products is better than conventionally manufactured dental restorations remains largely unknown. Its reputation continues to be tarnished by ignorance or misconceptions. Keep in mind, too, that dental technician training takes four years in Switzerland, and theoretical in- struction is slow to incorporate new technologies. In addition, Swiss dental laboratories are very small. The Association of Swiss Dental Technicians esti- mates that there are some 1,200 centres, many of which operate with just one or two people. There- fore, investments in laser melting are carefully con- sidered. Unicim, as a digital production centre, acts asaserviceprovidertootherlaboratories.Rightnow, I see it as an outsourcing area while we wait for it to take hold in the market. _Whatisthepositionofdentistsregardingthisissue? Interest is undoubtedly growing, not least be- cause it is impossible to ignore the technical, time- saving and affordability benefits. But we also need to look at the process chain. In order to prepare the data for manufacturing, it must be in STL format. STL data from different scanners can be processed using the CAMbridge or AutoFab Mlab data-pro- cessing software available from Concept Laser. Nowadays, conventional dental impressions form the basis for CAD data. The accuracy of the data de- pends on the preciseness of the work performed the dentist. Higher accuracy is essential. A high-quality intra-oral scanner costs about CHF20,000. If we had complete data migration from the dentist to the dental laboratory, we would be one step further. In the long term, however, that is unavoidable. Quality assurance and documentation needs will make open, manufacturer-independent data transfer an increasinglycriticalrequirement.Especiallyinterms of affordability, the topic of laser melting is becom- ing more important. _Thankyoufortheinterview._ Fig. 3_Crowns and bridges manufactured using laser melting technology. Fig. 4_Cast parts manufactured with LaserCUSING. CAD/CAM 3_2013 Fig. 3 Fig. 4