We're finally at a place where we can start thinking about a milling machine and possibly a printer as well. For the past year or two, we've been doing research on milling machines and now we are really pushing it hard. We expect to have a milling machine within a month or two and if every thing feels right, we may get a printer too.
With digital dentistry becoming more advanced and popular, we are excited to see where it takes us. We are working hard towards finding the right material, whether it's the quality of the zirconia or printed models, that meets our standard yet can be affordable.
It is definitely not a quick decision we can make since we want to make the most out of it. For example, after a long research period, we bought our current scanner, 3Shape D800, about two years ago after our preceding scanner, Dental Wings, died all of a sudden. We absolutely love our 3Shape scanner and everything about it. At first we started off using it just for designing zirconia, but gradually moved on to other restorations, such as temporaries, custom abutments, and models.
One of the biggest reasons we feel the need for a milling machine is that we want to control our quality. Technology has advanced so much within the last decade but technicians are still needed to take charge when problems arise. With our own milling machine, we can pinpoint exactly where something went wrong and fix it. Another benefit to having a milling machine is the turn around time. As soon as we need something re-milled, we can get it milled right then and there.
If we decide to get a printer as well, we can print not only models but also mouth guards, surgical stents, and many more. Right now, our models are printed at an out-of-state lab and the turn around time is a week. When there are issues, it can take longer. If we can print our own, the turn around time will be cut short and can use that time to really focus on the quality of restorations without having to rush.
We hope to find the right milling machine and possibly a printer that meets our need. As soon as there's an addition to our digital family, we will make sure to make an announcement. Meanwhile, please check out our Instagram page (@oaktreelab) for daily activities around the lab!