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10 Things attendees learned at Whip Mix’s 5th Annual Digital Forum

On the last two days of September, Whip Mix presented an educational forum entitled Perfecting Production and Profits in the Digital Age. If you weren’t there, you missed another great education opportunity that had enthusiastic attendees saying things like “Well planned and presented.” “All speakers were excellent. Their knowledge, presentation, and conviction was unparalleled.” “Very helpful for the real lab (practical use).” “Have one every month!”

What these attendees learned through lectures, breakout sessions and networking with other attendees was invaluable, practical information about scanning, designing, manipulating CAM software, milling, 3D Printing and even marketing today’s digital laboratory using Inbound Marketing techniques.

The distinguished and experienced group of speakers included Gary Iocco, Al Fillastre, Mark Larson, Mike Webb, Evan Kemper, Chris Frye, Sarah Brom-Criscola and Dr. James Babbi and others. They shared valuable information such as:

1. There is a steady growth in removables

Removable is projected to grow by 5% per year, and most of that is in Partial rather than Full Dentures

2. Digitally fabricated restorations are on the rise.

According to LMT Original Research, 58% of labs offer digitally fabricated restorations. Of that:

  • 78% have at least 1 scanner
  • 59% have at least 1 milling machine
  • 24% have at least 1 wax printer
  • 7% have at least 1 metal printer

3. 3D Printing comes in several forms:

  • SLA – to print Patterns for Casting and Pressing, and Models
  • Inkjet – to print Patterns, Models, Guides, Impression Trays, Try-Ins, and Delivery Trays
  • DLP – to print Patterns, Guides, Splints, Models, and Custom Impression Trays
  • DMP – to print Cobalt Chromium Fixed or Removable Prostheses

4. 3D Printing in the lab is rapidly increasing

Today (Oct., 2016), 5.7% of labs surveyed by NADL have rapid prototyping capabilities

5. Take a more “inbound” approach to grow and keep your customers

To effectively grow and keep your customers, you need to learn how to attract, convert, close, and then delight your customers using a new inbound approach to marketing your services.

6. Training is an important part of implementing your CAD/CAM equipment

Train new employees and re-train experienced technicians using 3Shape software, there is a PTC training app that simplifies and standardizes the learning process.

7. Leverage you digital equipment

Effective ways to leverage your investment in digital equipment are to use diagnostic modeling designs, create realistic digital temporaries and properly digitally-contour tissue to improve implant results.

8. Open CAM software systems are growing fast and

  • are capable of receiving .STL Files from any source for Dental Milling
  • offer fully customizable tools / components and speeds / feeds
  • give you full support for all open milling systems

9. Small adjustments in CAD can make a big difference

Small adjustments in CAD, using Margin Line Offset / Thickness control, can mean the difference between smooth margins and chipped ones.

10. More labs are going digital, not just with equipment.

42% of dental labs have a website. Of those, 70% say it’s an effective customer relations tool & half say it’s an effective way to generate new business.(LMT Orginal Research)

These takeaways are a tiny fraction of the useful and insightful information that the attendees of Digital Forum 2016 received. If this type of program is of interest to you, watch for Whip Mix’s ongoing digital education opportunities. We are all sharing the same journey into the new world of digital dentistry, so Whip Mix is eager to provide learning opportunities. Plan on attending a future Digital Forum to bring home lots of information that will enable your business to continue growing in a smart way. The dental laboratory’s future is up to you. You can merely survive or you can thrive! It’s your choice.

Photo Credit: Web Property Developer via Compfight cc 

Bernie Jaroslow, CDT

Bernie Jaroslow, CDT, has over 40 years of experience in the dental laboratory industry. He is currently the Marketing Manager at Whip Mix Corporation responsible for all marketing support including developing content for digital and print, creating product instructions, packaging and sales literature.

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