A decade ago there were few options for CAD/CAM distribution companies to choose from. The reason is that the technology was still developing on both the laboratory and clinical side of dentistry. Since the technology was new there weren’t many experts in the field with both dental and technology knowledge to guide customers in the right direction.
The lack of experience, coupled with an interest in CAD/CAM left a void that was filled with overpriced technology and people speaking on platforms who didn’t have true experience. The speakers were new to the technology that had limited capabilities and their views were ultimately dictated by large company needs. Typically the people making the decision in these companies on what to teach and promote were corporate CEO’s and CFO’s, not the dental community who used the technology.
Fast forward to 2020! Now there is a vast amount of experience on the laboratory side of dentistry as nearly every lab has embraced CAD/CAM technology. Laboratories have moved on from the “corporate” model of CAD/CAM and now can produce nearly everything digitally. This evolution has raised the quality of restorative dentistry and everyone in our community is better for it. Regardless of the presence of CAD/CAM in the dental practice, the Dental Technician will always be irreplaceable because of his or her experience in this technology realm.
It may be 2020 for the laboratories, but for the clinical it’s still 2010. Many companies on the clinical side are promoting slightly enhanced versions of CAD/CAM from what was being sold a decade ago. The capabilities are generally the same with minor alterations made to the physical look of the unit, workflow and software. By the way, the price tag for these systems are higher too because companies believe there is a premium to charge on the clinical.
If a laboratory technician or dentist wants to invest into CAD/CAM who do they choose to purchase from? Afterall, history shows that laboratories are advanced so they need someone who can further their CAD/CAM knowledge, not stymie their growth. Dentists need a company that will share the experience gained in the laboratory while looking out for their best interest or “pocket”.
The answer is the same for both the laboratory and dentist, experience and “DENTAL ONLY”. Whoever you are working with should have overall firsthand experience with the equipment you are purchasing. Furthermore, they should have experience with other systems too and in a variety of settings. Without this knowledge they will not be able to properly and objectively identify your needs during your integration process. If they cannot understand your needs they will not be able to adequately train you, let alone further your knowledge in technology.
“Dental Only”, what does this mean? Work with people who have experience with what you’re purchasing. Former Dental Technicians, Dentist or Dental Assistants are preferred because they understand your needs and perspective. Nothing is worse than calling a company for help only to have someone who sits in a cubicle answer your questions. More than likely this person has never seen a dental technicians bench or worked in an operatory.
How can you tell if a distributor is experienced and dental only? It starts with speaking with the Sales Representative. Your sales rep will be your advocate during the purchase and post sale support. It is important to make sure he or she has the proper perspective and knowledge to help guide you and the company they are employed by.
Second is to speak to someone in the Support team to make sure they have the knowledge and customer service skills to support you. There are other factors to look for as we covered in “7 Things to look for when purchasing a cad/cam system” but experience and dental perspective is the basics you should have before dissecting more.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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