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Chairside Fabrication: Enhancing Dental Practices and Laboratories

| Knowledge

Chairside systems with an integrated workflow offer dental practices improved control and an overview of the manufacturing and design process. They facilitate the rapid fabrication of dental restorations as well as the efficient archiving and processing of patient data directly in the practice.

1    Chairside: The time- and cost-saving denture fabrication method

1.1 What does "Chairside" mean?

Chairside is an English term that refers to dental procedures or technologies that are carried out directly at the patient's treatment chair, i.e. "chairside". Dental practices can use this method to produce high-quality dental restorations by carrying out the individual steps themselves - from impression taking to production - thanks to intuitive and automated software. All the necessary equipment - from the scanner and the appropriate software to the milling machine - can be used directly in the dental practice, making treatment quick and easy. In this article, we look at the importance, production, workflow and advantages of chairside systems in the dental practice.

1.2 Different methods of chairside production

1.2.1    Time-independent production

Time-independent fabrication is achieved by taking a digital impression within one session. All further steps are carried out afterwards.

1.2.2    Same Day Restoration

The method known as "same-day restoration" enables the complete fabrication of the denture within one day. For example, the patient comes to the practice in the morning to have their impressions taken and can take the finished dentures with them in the afternoon.

1.2.3    Single Visit Restoration

With the "Single Visit Restoration", all treatment steps are carried out in just one session so that the patient can leave the practice directly with the finished restoration. The applicability of this method depends on the specific indication and the material used.

1.3 Which target group is suitable for chairside production?

The chairside method is particularly suitable for dentists who specialize in prosthetic treatments because they can control the entire fabrication process themselves. For more complex cases, however, the expertise of a dental technician is often required. Many practice owners also use the possibilities of digitalization to optimize the digital workflow with their own dental laboratory. The chairside method offers efficient and cost-effective production as well as great flexibility in the choice of materials.

1.4 Chairside dentures: an overview of the workflow

1.4.1 The digital impression

Thanks to modern innovations, conventional impression trays are a thing of the past. Digital impressions and data capture take place directly in the patient's mouth. Intraoral scanning uses optical scanning technologies to take precise digital impressions directly from the mouth without physical contact. This provides dentists and orthodontists with 3D models created using various imaging techniques such as coaxial scanning (confocal principle) or triangulation. Intraoral scanners offer optimal possibilities here, such as the CORiTEC ione scan, one of the smallest and lightest scanners in the world. Due to its accuracy and convenience compared to conventional procedures, the patient flow in the dental practice can be accelerated.

1.4.2 The construction

With the help of modern CAD software, dentists and dental technicians now have a powerful application at their disposal that simplifies the process of designing and producing an inlay, onlay or crown. The software provides a clear visualization of the digital work that can be easily edited. With this tool, as well as optimized computers and milling systems that meet the specifications of the scanners, the treatment data can be worked out quickly so that the designs for prostheses, implants or splints can be implemented quickly.

1.4.3 Direct production in the dental practice laboratory

With CAD/CAM technology, tooth renewal has become increasingly accessible and efficient. Manufacturers of dental milling machines such as imes-icore® offer numerous systems that are suitable for use both in the laboratory and directly in the dental practice, enabling a smooth workflow for professional results.

1.4.4 The completion of the restoration

If high demands are placed on esthetics and complex restorations, it is advisable to have these produced in the dental laboratory - not least because of the high level of expertise in the areas of "materials science" and "function". The dental practice receives the finished restoration shortly after sending the data, so there is no need to invest valuable practice time in a replacement. Within the chairside method, there are various options for fabricating the restoration, whereby the patient's requirements regarding the desired material are decisive. Final steps such as grinding and polishing can be carried out directly in the practice. The restoration can therefore be used directly for patient treatment. The purpose of chairside fabrication is thus fulfilled: Scan, design, grind - and the restoration is ready.

1.5 What are the advantages of chairside systems for the practice?

  • Digital data is captured directly in the patient's mouth, eliminating the need for conventional impression trays
  • The model is displayed in real time during impression taking
  • Data can easily be merged with other digital data sets
  • Archiving digital models is particularly easy
  • Enables uncomplicated data processing directly on site or in the partner dental laboratory
  • The intuitive, software-supported design enables efficient production - without wasting time
  • There is control over the entire design and manufacturing process
  • Chairside systems guarantee clinical safety and durable materials that are well tolerated by the patient.
  • Within practice marketing, these patient-friendly treatments can be used to attract new customers in a targeted manner
  • The dentist gains more treatment time, as chair time is significantly reduced by the digital restoration and some of the work steps can be handed over to the dental team
  • The chairside systems enable both sales and margins to be increased
  • There is more leeway when invoicing, as there is no need to refer to an invoice from the dental laboratory, whose costs have to be included in other invoices.

1.6 What are the advantages of chairside systems for the patient?

  • Convenient treatment - completely without conventional impression taking using a tray and impression material
  • Usually only a single anesthetic and often no additional treatment appointments
  • Excellent analysis and diagnostics options on the virtual model
  • Final restoration without temporary tooth solutions
  • The patient receives an esthetic and durable dental prosthesis
  • The patient experiences a transparent and comprehensible treatment process, from live scans and insights into the design to high-end production
  • The chairside systems protect the healthy tooth substance

1.7 The establishment of a chairside workflow

Many dental practices initially opt for digital impressions and work with a dental laboratory or production center. Only later do they opt for chairside fabrication, for example. It makes sense to opt directly for an intraoral scanner, suitable CAD/CAM software and dental milling machines that match the indications in order to establish a chairside workflow. With such a chairside workflow, the practice can extend the range of chairside fabrications - depending on the focus - to include implantology. Regardless of whether partial areas have already been digitized or a complete chairside production is to be set up: With the CORiTEC dental systems from "imes-icore", a digital chairside workflow can be set up in no time at all.

1.8 Billing the chairside service

The billing of chairside services requires a separate calculation and may not be included in the total amount according to the German Dental Fee Schedule (GOZ). The costs for these services should be calculated appropriately. A recommended approach from a business perspective is to calculate the fee per minute, possibly with the involvement of a tax consultant. In this way, a fair amount can be determined for each chairside service according to the time required for the dental work.

1.9 The future of the chairside system

The future of the chairside system looks promising as the technology is constantly being developed to achieve even better results. Future developments could include improved scanners with even higher resolution, faster milling units and more advanced CAD software.
In addition, chairside systems could also be used for a wider range of dental treatments in the future, including implant surgery, endodontics and even orthodontic treatment.

1.10 Conclusion

Chairside systems offer numerous advantages for dentists, dental technicians and patients. By integrating digital technologies, chairside systems enable faster and more precise fabrication of dentures directly in the dental practice. This significantly reduces waiting times for patients and enables more individualized