In November, Nobel Biocare acquired BioCad Medical, Inc., a developer of computer-aided software for prosthetic design, and formed an exclusive partnership with Optimet, an Israel-based provider of optical measuring solutions. As a result, Nobel Biocare is introducing new software and the new NobelProcera scanner that can scan impressions as well as models while also expanding the material and restorative options of the Procera System. LMT talks with Hans Geiselhoringer, global head of Procera at Nobel Biocare, about these developments.
LMT: How will the acquisition of BioCad Medical affect laboratory customers?
Geiselhoringer: BioCad provides design software for overdenture bars and implant bridges. Over the last 10 months, we've been working with BioCad to develop new software that combines the BioCad CAD interface with Nobel Biocare's CAM manufacturing. This software replaces the current front-end software for Procera scanners and features an intuitive user interface and new design solutions for bars, custom abutments, crowns, bridges, waxups and cutbacks. It also comes with a comprehensive tooth library.
The software will be launched this year and can be purchased either as an upgrade for an existing Procera Scanner or as a complete system including the new software, scanner and an optional computer.
LMT: Tell us more about the new NobelProcera scanner; how does it work?
Geiselhoringer: It's a laboratory scanner that's unique in that the technician can scan an impression as well as a model. The scanner is based on Optimet's patented conoscopic holography technology*, a technology that's well proven in the aerospace, steel and electronic industries but this is the first time it's been used in dentistry. It offers highly precise measurements and can even scan large angulations and undercuts.
After scanning, the technician digitally designs the model and restoration and sends the digital data to one of Nobel Biocare's three centralized manufacturing centers; Nobel Biocare returns the model made from a special acrylic with the coping or abutment already on the model.
LMT: I understand you're also increasing the number of material and restorative options. Can you elaborate on those?
Geiselhoringer: In addition to alumina, zirconia and titanium that we currently offer, we will expand our material options to include non-precious alloys and acrylics. We will be introducing new prosthetic solutions in shaded zirconia for abutments and bridges; cobalt-chrome and titanium for crowns and bridges; acrylics for temporaries and overpressing techniques; and a range of bar solutions.
The dental industry is changing and tooth restoration is being increasingly driven by computer-aided design and manufacturing technologies that are replacing traditional labor-intensive production steps. Nobel Biocare is investing in high-tech production strategies and materials so our customers can take advantage of this new technology and provide restorations with high quality, longevity and esthetics to the patient.
The addition of new materials is important in order to meet the demands of dental laboratories that want to benefit from the advantages of CAD/CAM outsourcing production. Nobel Biocare is determined to be the preferred CAD/CAM business and outsourcing partner for dental laboratories.
Conoscopic holography is a 3-D measuring system based on crystal optics. It's a unique implementation of a polarized light interference process: a light beam is projected onto a diffusive object and the beam creates a light point on a target which, via reflection, disperses the light in all directions. The system analyzes a complete solid angle of diffused light and the measurement process retrieves the distance of the light point from a fixed reference plane.