Hands-on beginning to Zahn Expo 2010

22 10 2010

The hallways seemed quiet as the 19th annual Zahn Expo got underway Friday morning at the Marriott in Santa Clara, Calif., but the calm exterior was really covering a deep focus as attendees took part in a range of intimate hands-on sessions that provided the chance to put the latest materials, technologies and techniques to work.

A Day In the Life of a Digital Crown

Students work on digital designs while learning about the DDX digital file communication system during the Day in the Life of a Digital Crown course at the Zahn Expo 2010

While half-day and full-day sessions with notable educators covering a wide range of benchtop skills were available, the real highlight of the opening day was a session simply titled “The Life of a Digital Crown” which put attendees in front of a computer and set them to work from the very start of a digital CAD/CAM workflow. The session gave them the chance to try out equipment and systems including 3M ESPE’s Lava C.O.S. digital impression system, Dental Wings scanners and software, the envisionTEC HD DDP 3D printer, Wieland’s ZENOTEC T1 milling unit and E4D Technologies’ D4D milling unit .

During the course attendees also were introduced to the DDX platform for online communication between dentists and dental labs that is available as a stand alone web application, currently integrated into software from Dental Wings and soon to be a part of the next update to the Dentrix practice management software platform.

When learning about output options for digital cases, attendees heard about the ability to do more than just produce CAD/CAM copings and crowns. Systems such as the envisionTEC printer can be used to produce resin models, shapes for casting and soon will be capable of printing surgical guides, bite guards and eventually new glass ceramic composites that can be used for long-term provisionals. By the end of the day-long session, attendees had a good picture of Zahn’s various CAD/CAM workflows available today, and new features soon to arrive.

Other hands-on sessions provided opportunities to try ceramic systems from GC America and Pentron Ceramics, as well as courses on techniques and materials key to improved results with removable prosthetics. PFM sessions were presented in the afternoon, giving attendees the chance to learn about the latest techniques for achieving highly esthetic results when layering porcelain on top of metal copings.

After the day’s education came to a close, the exhibit hall became the main attraction with Zahn’s latest lab offerings on display alongside a range of materials, tools, supplies and furnishings from more than two dozen companies. Among the product launches was a novel approach to adding characterization to milled restorations from newly launched Hilla. The company’s Porcelain Appliqué adds instant detail to the edges of milled crowns by applying specially printed porcelain decals to the milled restorations to produce highly detailed results.

Day two of the event moves from hands-on to a lecture-based educational format with an early keynote on marketing digital laboratories from Dr. Mark Murphy. Check back tomorrow for a run down on the day’s events.

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