The past decade has seen a digital revolution in the dental implant field. Yet despite the transformations brought by digitalization, many clinics and labs remain locked into closed, proprietary workflows. Put simply, they must follow a workflow specified by an implant company.
The result is that once the designs are completed in the CAD / CAM software, labs and clinics have no freedom of choice when it comes to key components and devices. Indeed, under such proprietary arrangements, labs must rely on off-site, centralized manufacturing centers, even when they have their own in-house milling and printing capabilities.
At first glance, such locked-in workflows may seem advantageous. After all, every step is decided in advance; there is no need to spend time selecting different products and/or vendors. But locked-in workflows are also rigid and restrictive—hardly the best way of working when ideally labs should be using whatever validated, verified systems are best for an individual patient’s optimal outcome.
Moreover, the argument that locked-in workflows are essential for consistent results is hard to sustain in today’s digital landscape. For example, labs can now use pre-milled blanks and their own milling machines for fully controlled in-house milling of custom abutments. Labs can send digital files virtually anywhere in the world. And technology makes it easy to work with numerous trusted vendors and specialists around the globe.
Open and simplified
So what alternatives to locked-in workflows do labs and clinics have? One proven alternative is the Elos Accurate® Digital SMART Flow solution. A comprehensive and fully open workflow for all major implant platforms, Digital SMART Flow is suitable for all implant indications, and for in-house or outsourced production.
The acronym SMART of course suggests the solution is a generally more enlightened way of working than restrictive proprietary workflows. But SMART also stands for: Simplify the Manufacturing of Accurate Restorations with Technology—in other words, the solution offers everything needed for a smooth, reliable, validated workflow from initial scan to final outcome.
Simplifying the production of restorations is the bedrock of Digital SMART Flow. Labs and clinics are for example free to start with digital impressions from an intra-oral scanner or conventional impressions. They can then continue the workflow partly or entirely digitally—whatever best suits them and their patients. Further simplification comes from the fact that all components in the solution (scan bodies, hybrid bases, etc.) are compatible with all the major implant systems.
Workflow simplification is further enabled by the solution’s openness. End users simply upload the Elos Accurate Library to any of the major CAD suites. Once they have designed the restoration and received the STL file, they can open and convert it in any major open CAM software. There is no need for different components or equipment. End users can then choose to outsource milling and printing to a centralized milling center, or opt to perform these operations in-house.
The ’accurate restorations’ element of Digital SMART Flow refers to the solution’s focus on accuracy. This is demonstrated by the new single-body ScanBody22 in the Digital SMART Flow solution. Characterized by one highly respected lab owner as “an evolutionary advance in accuracy,” the ScanBody22 delivers exceptional scanning accuracy that helps “minimize the risk of adjustments further on in the workflow.”
Scan. Design. Manufacture
Digital SMART Flow is comprehensive, covering every phase in the journey from initial scanning to final printing and milling. For the scan phase, Digital SMART Flow offers the ScanBody22 titanium scan body, probably the most accurate scan body on the market.
For the design phase, the solution offers four open libraries, each containing all the relevant parts for 3Shape and exocad software. There is no need to worry about parameters for cement gaps, angulation, or height, since they are already tested and defined with extreme accuracy. The four open libraries are:
Elos Accurate® Custom Abutment Library, for milled customized abutments using Elos abutment blanks
- Elos Accurate® Custom Bar Bridge Library, for creating one-piece bridges and bars, it includes implant connection geometries
- Elos Accurate® Hybrid Base Engaging Library is for Elos Accurate hybrid bases (engaging) for screw-retained single or small cement-retained bridge restorations
- Elos Accurate® Hybrid Base Non-Engaging Library is used for Elos Accurate hybrid bases (non-engaging) for screw-retained bridge restorations and bar restorations
For the manufacturing phase, the Digital SMART Flow solution includes a complete product portfolio: hybrid bases (engaging and non-engaging), implant analogs for exceptional accuracy in 3D printed models, prosthetic screws and pre-milled blanks.
Benefits for implant companies, too
But it is not just clinics and labs that stand to benefit from the open, validated workflow of Digital SMART Flow. As the market shifts away from locked-in proprietary systems, those implant manufacturers who can offer a solution that’s compatible with other products—whether it’s an implant, digital component, 3D printer or other product—are going to be preferred over those who only offer proprietary workflows.
Moreover, the Digital SMART Flow can help manufacturers quickly expand their product portfolios and get to market swiftly. That is because Elos Medtech is one of the very few companies in the FDA database with a 510(k) clearance for localized milling. Our workflow has been tested and is verified, ensuring regulatory compliance for adopters of our solutions in the US market. And of course, for labs and clinics in Europe, Digital SMART Flow is MDR compliant.
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