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March 13, 2024

I recently attended LMT’s 2024 Lab Day based in Chicago - and it was action-packed, to say the least. 

Interestingly, the Lab Day event runs concurrently with Chicago Midwinter, and it felt a lot busier than the dentist-focused Midwinter event. 

The event takes place in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and if I’m being totally honest, it felt more like a bustling market than your standard dental trade show.

The booths are small, crowded, and seemingly low-budget - not the fancy stuff we see at IDS. But no complaints here, there was a lot to see and plenty of great discussions had. 

The event is purely focused on the lab side of dentistry - which is digitizing way faster than the clinical side of things. Estimates say that over 90% of labs are digitized in the US, comparedto around 50% of dental clinics.

Being a lab show there were some incredibly advanced workflows on display at this event compared to the clinic-focused Chicago Mid-Winter show. 

The majority of booths and lectures I saw were regarding some form of digital technology - really exciting to see. I remember when digital workflows were seen as niche 5 years ago, and now it feels like the whole industry is getting into it.

It is almost impossible to cover every single product that was on show as there was so much. Rather, I want to give you an overview of where the industry is heading and some of the key releases I saw.

Something really interesting about this event is that the big companies had their own large rooms. We are talking about IvoclarHenry ScheinArgen, Amann Girbach etc. 

Nearly all the companies that did lectures in their own big rooms focussed on problems and how their products and knowledge provided a solution. Like with Ivoclar, they did a number of interesting lectures on digital dentures and how ivotion denture pucks can help.

So let's talk about some of the interesting things we saw at the event:

3D Printing and Milling

As the event is geared towards dental labs, there seemed to be an endless number of printer resins and printers. Resin printers, metal printers, color polyjet printers, etc. Although 3D printing is a big topic, milling is still a key part of the dental lab. There were many milling machines showcased, including a new one by Amann Girrbach called the Ceramill Matron.

Of course, where there is milling, there is zirconia. There was also a huge number of different zirconia materials from various different manufacturers.

It seems like one of the the main focuses of the industry on the lab side is digital dentures, 3D printing, and workflow solutions to convert analog practices into the digital space. 

Asiga releases new 3D Printers - Ultra and Max 2

Asiga showcased their new 3D printers. The Ultra 50 and Ultra 32. The Ultra printers have a bigger vat. Better heating system via infrared technology. Gesture controls to open and close the lid and an electromagnetic platform build platform that locks and unlocks based on a toggle on the software. I wrote a complete article on them here if you want more info.

Amanngirrbach releases a new milling machine - the Ceramil Matron.

Amann Girbach showcased their new milling machine - Ceramill Matron, which is an all-rounder lab mill with a particular focus on metal milling. “The Ceramill Matron offers a completely new digital experience and achieves results with a precision that is on a par with any milling centre. It can even be used to effortlessly machine hard metals such as titanium or cobalt–chromium up to 16 mm in-house,” explained Amann Girrbach product manager Daniel Leitner.

It seems like the company is building on the success of the Ceramil Matik with a focus on metal milling.

Ackuretta launches the SOL Plus.

A brand new printer by Ackuretta which comes with a heater, larger build platform and improved printing tech.

Read more here, we did a full blog on it.

LITHOZ showcased their 3D printed lithium disilicate. 

These 3D printed lithium disilicate restorations are looking better and better every time I seem them at conferences.

Although the time frame to make these still is in the 8 hour range, it looked beautiful.

Given the time it takes to produce these by 3D printing it seems irrelevant for a chairside setting. As a clinic will likely only make 1 or 2 a day, if that.

But for a lab, that produces many tens of units per day, the idea of 3D Printing many units of lithium disilicate at the same time rather than milling one-by-one, may be the future. 

The technology is in its infancy, but is this the feature of ceramics?

Ivoclar reduce the cost of the PrograPrint

The PrograPrint by Ivoclar was relaunched recently and is getting sold for about half the original price.

The whole setup with the wash and cure unit will be around $15,000 USD - it's kind of crazy how much the price has gone down.

The company also has updated their CAM software. 

One thing I find interesting is that the classic behemoth companies of dentistry (like Ivoclar) don't seem to find their footing in the 3D printing space which is dominated by the likes of Asiga and Sprintray etc.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see if this new price point will attract customers to buy the stylish Ivoclar printer. 

NextDent announce a new polyjet printer!

NextDent the company that is well known for the 3D Printer the NextDent 5100, announced a new polyjet printer.

The only issue is that it was not at the show. They only had denture examples that the company say were printed using this new printer. PolyJet I am sure everyone knows by now allows you to print multiple colours out of a monolithic print.

The dentures on show did look good, but there was little info about the size of the machine and cost.

If the company can pull it off, this will be a competitor for Stratasys which currently is the only polyjet printer manufacturer that sells to the dental market.

Below are the dentures NextDent had on show that were printed in one piece and had different colors for the teeth and denture base.

Stratsys showcase colour 3D printing

Speaking of Stratsys they showcased their usual line-up of printers.

Truly incredible what they can print with these polyjet printers. In particular, an incredibly real-looking arm and banana out of all things, haha.

Their dentures looked good too, and of course, their colour models. All a single print process and multiple objects can be printed on the same platform.

BEGO releases a new permanent crown resin

BEGO showcased their new 3D-printed crown resin - TriniQ. This is the latest addition to their product family of 3D printing materials. 

The company says the material has high strength and flexibility allowing it to be used for single unit restorations and bridges. Both permanent and long term temps. The most impressive thing is that it comes in 10 VITA shades.

We will wait and see if this material picks up and is the next 'game-changer' in the market. Currently permanent crown resins seems to be dominated by Sprintray.

One otherthing to note is that Formlabs printer users will have access to this resin too.

Formlabs release two new resins.

Speaking of Formlabs they showcased a few new resins at the event.

Their new permanent tooth resin is called Premium Teeth Resin - a nano-ceramic filled resin for printing teeth used to assemble these to denture bases, and also for all-on-x appliances. The company is calling it a resin for most indications.

The second release is Dental LT Comfort Resin - for printing flexible/resilient splints. This promises to be a lot softer than their previous splint resin and more inline with the competition like KeySplint Soft.

IBT Flex Resin was also showcased at the event - for printing indirect bonding trays for bracket placement as well as indexes/trays for direct composite restorations

Sprintray Release a bunch of new products.

SprintRay has a big event. The new nanocure curing machine, new denture resins, splint resin, and the new optical polish tray for printing more clear and smooth surfaces.

I did an entire blog about all their releases that you can read here.

Other releases that were not 'new' but interesting at the show.

  • Pacdent showcased their new Titan and Sculpture 2.0 resins 
  • Keystone showed their new KeyGuard resin for soft impact spot guards. This will complement the super popular KeySplint soft.
  • Lux Creo showed their direct printed clear aligner system and resins. These look very interesting. 
  • HeyGears showcased their impressive automation system for 3D printing aligner models. Will direct aligner printing ever be mainstream? Time will tell.

So, that was my experience at America’s biggest Lab Day - if you’re a dental tech in the area, I’d seriously recommend checking it out. Really cool seeing where the industry is headed.

Do you like this style of recaps? Let me know in the comments below.

About the author 

Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny

Dr Ahmad is a global leader in digital dentistry and intraoral scanners, carrying out lectures as a KOL for many companies and industry. He is one of the few in the world who owns and has tested all mainstream scanners and CAD/CAM systems in his clinic. Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny is a full-time private dentist in New Zealand and the Director of The Institute of Digital Dentistry (iDD), a world-leading digital dentistry education provider. iDD offers live courses, masterclasses, and an online training platform, with a mission to ensure dentists globally have easy and affordable access to the best digital dentistry training possible.

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