With the volume of restorations, dentures, surgical guides, and appliances DSOs typically order, the time and cost savings of using digital impressions benefit the dental team, patients, lab techs, and the bottom line.
National Dentex Labs (NDX) is a full-service dental lab network with more than 60 locations across the country that serve private practices, dental support organizations (DSOs), and university and government institutions. As dental technologies evolve, NDX helps customers expand their capabilities, optimize their workflows, and provide the highest-quality restorations for patients.
According to Director of Technical Operations, Damon Liesse, dentists, DSOs, and group practices are increasingly using digital intraoral scanning to create impressions when submitting cases, which enables NDX to meet the needs of its customers’ busy practices more quickly and provide better-fitting restorations for their patients.
The Limitations of Analog
Let’s face it. Taking analog impressions is laborious and an unpleasant process for everyone involved. Filling trays with impression material, getting them properly positioned in the patient’s mouth, waiting for the material to set, helping patients through reflex gagging, then removing, checking, and disinfecting impressions is time-consuming. If the impression becomes distorted at any point in the process, it will have to be done all over again. Then, the impression must be boxed up and sent by mail to the dental lab.
As digital transformation leaders, NDX is upgrading the accuracy and dependability of dental restorations. NDX developed its proprietary processes and systems that produce a very accurate digital reproduction of analog impressions. Their state-of-the-art laboratories are using this cutting-edge technology to digitize traditional impressions into 3D printed models.
Conversely, when NDX receives a digital intraoral scan, the technicians just color mark the margins and proceed through the design and fabrication process. NDX accepts scans from all major intraoral scanner (IOS) brands, including 3M True Definition, Cerec, iTero, PrimeScan, 3Shape TRIOS, PlanMeca/E4D Technologies and Carestream CS3500.
Accuracy and Time Savings of Digital Impressions
Adopting digital impressions saves time for everyone—patients, clinicians, dental staff, and lab technicians. The digital workflow saves patients chair time with expeditious results and often fewer appointments. It may also be a more comfortable experience for most patients.
Clinicians can check the accuracy of digital impressions while the patient is still in the dental chair and the IOS software indicates where changes need to be made or areas that may need to be rescanned.
Eliminating the products and materials necessary for taking analog impressions saves money, as does eliminating the dental team’s time disinfecting and shipping the impression.
Working digitally with NDX enables lab technicians to move right into production and fabricate restorations with a quicker turnaround time. In addition, lab technicians can see more detail with a digital impression, making restorations more precise and requiring fewer remakes.
Another advantage to digital IOS impressions is that the lab will always have a record of a patient’s digital file, so prosthetics and night guards can be reproduced without having to take new impressions. Plus, analog impression material deteriorates over time, requiring the patient to return for additional impression appointments.
Digital Conversion Savings and Support
To encourage and support their DSO customers to adopt IOS technology, NDX offers special savings and comprehensive support throughout the transition.
“We have partnerships with intraoral scanning companies and can take different scanners to their offices for doctors to try,” Liesse notes. “We also have an intraoral scanning training team that offers additional training beyond the manufacturer’s training. And we can provide extensive remote or in-office training as well.”
Dedicated Digital Guided Surgery & Prosthetics Workflow
NDX offers a proprietary guided surgery protocol, nSequence®, for clinicians placing implants. This digital workflow for advanced case planning saves time during surgery and can help ensure precise implant and prosthetic placement.
NDX coordinates pre-planning between the surgeon, restorative dentist, and the laboratory surgical planner. Next, NDX technicians digitally design the case for the surgical and restorative team to approve. Surgical guides are then fabricated for all-on-x immediate implant reconstruction cases at the state-of-the-art nSequence facility in Reno, NV.
The restorative dentist receives a kit that details the protocol for each step of the process from the first treatment planning appointment through the delivery of the definitive prosthesis. Steps include a “GoToMeeting” huddle between the clinician and the lab team to review and sign off on the case plan, and a virtual “dry model surgery review” for a step-by-step walkthrough of the surgical appointment, postoperative appointments, and the try-in or final seating.
The kit also contains a detailed surgical report, stackable surgical and restorative guides, an angulation guide for abutment placement, a customized long-term provisional restoration, and two Lucitone Long-Term Provisionals.nSequence_guided_prosthetics
Following the nSequence protocol results in shorter surgical appointments and the digital workflow results in precise fabrication of superior-fitting restorations while eliminating guesswork and reducing stress for everyone on the team.
Partnership Benefits with NDX
With its network of labs, NDX can scale and support DSOs as their organizations grow nationally. NDX offers customized service and state-of-the-art products, from bite guards and bleaching trays to migraine and sleep apnea appliances, retainers, partials, full-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations, full cast crowns, overdentures, screw-retained fixed hybrid prostheses, implant bundles, and the nSequence protocol.
A variety of educational formats and courses are available to dental professionals, including seminars and hands-on courses through the NDX Education Center in Jupiter, FL. On-demand and live webinars, lunch and learns, an online document library, and a video library can be accessed through the NDX website.
Written by Damon Liesse. With more than 20 years in the dental lab industry, Damon Liesse brings his vast expertise as NDX’s Director of Technical Operations. Of those years, almost half have been focused on testing new products and innovative technologies including printer resins, Zirconias, implant workflows, mills, 3D printers, CAD/CAM software, and AI.
National Dentex Labs (NDX) is a leading provider of dental prosthetics and products, using the most advanced restorative techniques and technologies. NDX offers dentures, crowns & bridges, implant restorations, surgical guides and appliances, including orthodontics, migraine therapy and sleep apnea products. Since 2015, NDX has aggressively expanded its national footprint to meet the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace and deliver best-in-class restorative solutions to dentists, specialists, and DSOs throughout North America. With a network of more than 60 full-service labs across the US, NDX is committed to providing top quality products and highly personalized service.