Monthly Archives: September 2013

How are Dental Ventures and 3M Similar?

There’s an interesting relationship that exists between 3M and us. Plenty of dentists and labs use their dental lab products, like the Lava line of zirconia for restoratives and crowns. 

3M’s existence is really founded on research and innovation. And one other factor. They know how to look at how their products are being used. Then they use that observation to come up with an innovation that makes those processes smoother and easier.

This is the company that brought the world Scotch tape (their brand name), waterproof sandpaper and the Post-It (also their brand name). Items we completely take for granted.

I like the fact that we work in very similar ways.

3M’s Innovation

Here’s an example of how we are similar. 3M watched consumers using their products and came up with two different adaptations of those products that better suited the way their consumers operated. (It’s amazing how some companies can’t do this.)

They watched people wrapping a stack of presents to see how they use Scotch tape. If you’ve ever done this, you probably did the same thing as these consumers: you tore off a whole bunch of two or three inch strips of tape and stuck them to something slick or smooth that they could be removed from easily. Then as you wrapped presents, you pulled off the prepared tape strips and applied them to the presents.

So 3M came up with a tape dispenser “bracelet.” It has an elastic band that fits around one’s wrist. A tab of tape sticks out of the dispenser and when you pull on it, it’s a few inches long just like you would prepare for yourself.

In the other example, they watched students studying, and noted that they shift back and forth between tabbing pages for review and highlighting text. So, very intuitively, they created a highlighter that has tiny Post-Its flags packaged at the other end.

Just Like 3M, We Watch

We watch our clients shaping, polishing and finishing dental restorations. We note the exact steps they go through. Then time and time again, we develop a product that incorporates multiple steps into one easy process. Like students who don’t have to switch back and forth between study tools, our customers don’t have to switch back and forth between wet and dry workstations or different tools or processes.

Like our HYBrite Polish. You can use this to polish a 3M Ultimate Crown in one step, removing the scratches and bringing out a beautiful shine, all in one step.

We don’t plan to stop any time soon. We’re going to continue to innovate, bringing you new dental lab supplies to make your life easier and your results more pleasing to your patients and customers.

We welcome your input. If you are an innovator like we are, and you have an idea about how to make your work processes faster, give us a call or drop us an email. That could be the birth of a whole new dental product to make another process easier and faster! 

The Magic of Today’s Dentistry

It might not surprise you to learn that the first successful American dental lab was started by a partnership of a dentist and a tool and die maker. In Boston shortly after the Civil War, Dr. Stowe and Frank Eddy became highly successful at relieving dentists of the tedious chore of carving restorations. If you go to the intersection of Winter and Tremont Streets in Boston, you’ll see a plaque commemorating their first dental lab. In those days, either gold or porcelain crowns were being delivered.

Of course, gold restorations reached as far back as the Roman Empire. As fond as the Romans were of beautifully carved gold ornaments, this is hardly surprising.

In the 1700s in France, a goldsmith began accepting wax impressions directly from patients. He would make gold teeth and send them back. A gold spring clasp would hold the teeth in place.

Back in the US, even Paul Revere even got into the act, advertising that he could fix artificial teeth, and there are records that he provided high-quality restorations for dentists.

The next trend was dentures carved out of a single chunk of elephant ivory. This was followed by dentures made out of vulcanized rubber. And then Dr. Stowe and his friend Frank arrived on the scene.

Fast Forward to the Present

The technology of the dental lab has changed rapidly over the last hundred years. I have to tell you, the amazing changes that arrived on the scene with the successful development of the Sirona dental system have been revolutionary. The speed and accuracy of these systems is remarkable. (Compare the capability of a Sirona system with Paul Revere tinkering with gold or a goldsmith in France making a tooth from a wax impression someone bit into.)

Every time the technology in this industry raves forward, as it did when the Sirona systems began to be commercially available, we all have to retrain just to keep up.

This is just as true for Dental Ventures as it is any lab or dentist’s office. There are new dental lab supplies, new materials like e.max and zirconia. We provide a lot of different lab supplies, with a specialty in polishing. We have to know every new material as soon as it hits the market – well, preferably before, which is why we keep our ears to the ground, so to speak. We want to help streamline your procedures, no matter what materials you are using.

I think there’s a tendency for many of us to think that what we have now is the be all and end all of technology. The great minds out there continue to think far in advance of the dental lab products we have now. Those new developments are going continue to arrive at high speed and we are going to continue to keep pace with them. No matter what materials you are using, we’ll have the products you need to keep your production line running at speed. That’s our commitment at Dental Ventures of America.

Sirona

Decreasing Lab Time by a Ratio of Ten to One? Yes, it Can Happen

When you’re delivering a flexible partial, the finishing procedure calls for it to be pumiced and then polished before the patient sees it. The usual procedure used for these steps can take a lot of lab time.

Just for fun, I looked around for someone who was describing his method of getting through these final steps. It made my head ache just to see all the work he was going to when if he just had known, that final polish step could have been so much faster if he had used our Acryl-Marvel.

I’m paraphrasing his description for polishing a flexible partial made of Valplast.

First, you polish with pumice, getting rid of all the scratches and then rinse.

Then use a new brush wheel with a buffing agent. Start buffing but keep the Valplast wet by dunking it in water over and over as you polish.

Keep the partial moving. In a minute or two, the flange you are polishing will be shiny and then you can start polishing the next flange.

Video Evidence Proves How Fast this Step Should be

I’ve got one of my very popular demonstration videos uploaded to YouTube that shows how this exact procedure can be shortened down to one minute for the whole partial. Not just one segment but the whole thing. All remaining scratches gone and a high shine delivered, ready to go to your patient. And no more dunking after the initial step of cleaning off the pumice.

Doesn’t that sound easier? Instead of ten or more minutes, you’ve got one minute in the lab devoted to this step.

Bringing a high shine to a partial used to take a long time but it doesn’t have to any more. You should see this video if you’re taking more than a minute on this step.

Here’s the link to the video showing a one-minute polish step, using Acryl-Marvel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87ziXodCX6I&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL019642CE888B2175

What Else Do You Want to See on Video?

If there are any product demonstrations you want to see, let me know. Or if you see a need for a product to save lab time, or if you want to know more about a product – contact me for any of these reasons.

We are pretty unique in the field of dental laboratory supplies and products. People get so used to doing things just one particular way that sometimes when they see a dental lab supply that is new and better, it might not sink in right away.

We continue innovating so we can save you time. With all the changes in labs in the last few years, with so many dentists and labs alike adding Sirona Systems, it’s one of those times that you have to innovate just to keep up. Let us know of any innovations that you think might be needed. I’d love to hear from you. Email me at matts@dentalventures.com.

Sirona

Saving Steps in Seating and Adjusting Restorations – and Preserving Patient Comfort

When you are checking a restoration for fit, there’s plenty of products out there you can use. In line with our philosophy of saving you time and steps, we offer Waxie-Paste for this purpose. How is it different from similar dental lab products?

It’s different enough that one of our customers called a Dental Ventures employee on a Sunday night and said, “You just saved my life.”

Wow, that’s pretty profound praise! Waxie-Paste provides a very accurate representation of any problem contacts between restorations and the models – or your patients’ mouths. The better the fit, the smaller the chance that you will get the patient back in your office, complaining about the fit (or if you’re a lab, getting the restorations back for adjustment).

Easier and Cleaner in Use

I was looking at a video from a Florida dentist on how he checks the seating of a restoration. This fellow was taking the model away and spray-painting it to check for these problem areas. With Waxie-Paste, you don’t have to move the model away to spray paint it. It is a clean paste that you apply with a fairly stiff, small brush. No overspray and less motion mean saved time, less cleanup and a cleaner lab atmosphere.

Fewer Moving Pieces (So to Speak)

Some dentists do their fit adjustments is with articulating paper or ribbon. You have to hold these papers in place while testing the contact of the restoration, which can be tricky. You practically need a third hand to control all these moving pieces. It’s not that you can’t do it – it’s just that Waxie-Paste makes it so much easier.

Waxie-Paste works as well when testing interferences between a crown and the adjacent interproximal wall of the adjacent tooth, or checking for occlusal interferences.

Once you are finished with the fit adjustment, you can simply and easily wash the remaining Waxie-Paste away. It’s water soluble.

Here’s the link to our product demo page so you can see the steps of using Waxie-Paste and see for yourself how much easier it makes your job. https://www.dentalventures.com/waxie-paste/#demo

With our Products, We Aim to Solve Your Problems

That’s really our philosophy. We deconstruct your procedures to see where ingenuity in developing new dental lab supplies can save steps. It’s like taking out a big, blank sheet of paper each time. We don’t just make a slightly better version of the dental lab products that you need. We rethink each one and then research the materials that are available to make that procedure less time consuming.

Our First Dental Show!

By the time you read this, we will have attended our first dental show! We’ll be at CDA Presents in San Francisco from the 15th to the 17th of August, Booth #2239. We expect to learn a lot, in addition to meeting hundreds, maybe even thousands of new people in this industry. We’re excited about this, and expect to be doing more of this in the future.

Rethinking Dental Lab Products – Our Specialty

We have not achieved the success we’ve had by thinking like everyone else. We got successful offering products that are configured differently, that work differently than the other products on the market. You might say our specialty is making it possible to eliminate steps in the manufacture of your removable appliances. Many of our products have this characteristic. It just means that we didn’t accept the usual procedures in the lab but kept working with the materials available on the market to come up with something simpler and better.

But we realize that this means you have to learn new procedures. That’s why we have posted so many YouTube videos and will be posting more. We know your lab procedures are going to have to change.

Like the video for Acryl-Marvel. When you switch from your usual pumice to Acryl-Marvel, you have to get your staff accustomed to the one-step polishing process rather than the three-step pumice process. They no longer have to pumice the denture, then pre-polish and then do the last high-shine step.

This conversion becomes a lot easier if you just have them watch the video on YouTube in which the process is being done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bpRUhtjTSw&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL019642CE888B2175

Critical Changes in the Polishing Steps

Your staff are going to have to forget a lot of what they already know to work with Acryl-Marvel. You just can’t use these products in exactly the same way as your old products. For example, many labs soften up the rag wheel by cutting the stitching. You don’t need to do this with Acryl-Marvel. A firm wheel is needed to be effective.

Your staff will need to get used to working one single area, or quadrant, of a removable appliance at a time, going all the way from polishing out scratches to completing the shining step, without adding more Acryl-Marvel to the wheel or moving to a new area. They’ll have to resist the impulse to move all over the appliance before that one area has been polished to a high shine.

Speeding Up the Production Line

In many in-house labs, the polishing step of the manufacture process is where things can get slowed down. You can’t deliver appliances to your patients unless you can get any scratches buffed out and the surface brought to a high shine. When three steps turn into one, and you don’t need to continually add pumice to the wheel throughout the polishing process, this area of manufacturing can move quite a bit faster.

It’s a very different product. If you have not tried it yet, you are losing time that could be spent sending more appliances through the lab. If you are using it, make sure your staff are using it correctly by having them study our online videos. It’s worth the short time required (this one is less than ten minutes) so that you get the best result from your investment.