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March 24, 2023

Attending the International Dental Show (IDS) 2023 was an incredible opportunity for us to explore the latest advancements in dental technology. As we wandered through the bustling exhibition hall, we couldn't resist stopping by the Planmeca booth to catch up with one of the industry's leading dental equipment manufacturers.

With a rich history spanning over 45 years, Planmeca has established itself as a pioneer in digital dentistry, constantly pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

We spoke to Petri Kajander, Planmeca's Product Manager and got a glimpse of their latest releases and discovered some exciting new features.

You can watch the full interview below, or see Petri's answers down below.

Can you tell us a little bit about Planmeca’s new releases at IDS 2023?

Absolutely! We have a scanning cart called Imprex, which makes it easier to have around the dental chair when you scan the patient’s mouth. We also have new software, which improves the easiness of scanning and handling different situations during the scanning. 

There are many new things in the software, and at IDS 2023 we’re showcasing the design version of our software. Something for our customers to look forward to!

Oh, so this is an updated version of Planmeca's Romexis Software? What new features are in it?

Well, one very nice and cool feature of the updated Romexis Software is that, in just a couple of seconds we can segment the teeth, and we can take the morphology of the other side for designing. So it makes it more fun, easier, and quicker.

You can clone a tooth much more easily, which will be a big time-saver for the dental technicians. 

We’ve just seen Planmeca’s 3D printer - the Creo C5. Can you tell us anything about it?

Well, the materials and resins for 3D printing are constantly growing as more players come into the market. So behind the scenes, we are doing a lot of work, testing new materials so that we can have many more approved materials for our customers to use. That’s something we’re working on in the future, in five years, we will know a lot more.

I’m sure a lot of work has to go into every printer getting validated on different materials. What are the main brands or range of resins that people can use?

Well, mostly you can do the basic model printing and aligner based models. Printing surgical guides is a growing sector as well. And then, all kind dentures and things like that… so pretty soon, you’ll be able to print pretty much everything! Even permanent crowns.

Great! Is Planmeca planning on releasing any specialized wash and curing units to go with the printer?

Yeah, it’s definitely something we’re thinking about. But nowadays, there’s already a lot of choice in the market. So we will have to see, calculate it and see if it’s better to make it ourselves or potentially license one elsewhere.

The PlanMill 35 has been around for a little while. Any updates or changes?

We are actually now releasing it in Europe and other parts of the world. It’s already been available in North America for a few months, and the reception has been really good because we can now mill wet and dry. 

Meaning that when we are milling the Zirconia, we can use the cutting drill so that it's making a very, very fine design and therefore better. Much better aesthetics and so on.

So, what sort of size bur do you use to get that sort of detailed anatomy?

We have a 1.6 millimetre tool and then a one millimetre tool. So it uses the bigger one first to take the excess material away and then for detailed the work it uses the smaller one. So the automatic tool changer handles everything. You just close the lid and wait when it's popping up and you have your work ready.

Wonderful. What's the rough milling time for a single crown?

If we mill wet from e.max lithium disilicate it takes approximately six minutes to ten minutes, depending on the level of detail on the occlusal surface. 

Wow, that’s fast - six to ten minutes!?

Yeah, nowadays it’s very good. We also have very nice 50-micron diamonds in our burs, so the end results of the surface are so good that you don’t really need to do any post-polishing to it. You just glaze it directly, and then it’s ready to be cemented.

We noticed the Planmeca Emerald S was recently OEM'd to KaVo and to Ivoclar. Have you got any other OEM relationships happening? And are there any other updates to that scanner?

Well, Amann Girrbach also now has the same scanner. So, we are four companies with the same kind of scanner. The software is a little bit different, of course. We have a lot of things in the Romexis which can make it possible to do all the digital workflows, like implant workflow, orthodontic workflow, and so on, in one software, and all the data is available immediately, so that's our strength.

It’s great to see that other companies have recognized the quality of your hardware and chosen it as their scanner. Have there been any updates to the Emerald scanners at all?

Well, we’ve made a large upgrade in 2019, so that it is 2.5 times faster than the previous Emerald. So now, hardware-wise, we have been ready since 2019 and now we have made a lot of updates to the software and we are getting more speed, accuracy and ease of use has improved.

We already have it now on show, so once the hardware and software are ready we will get more of them out into the world.

 Is that software release something new for IDS?

We already have a scan and send part of the software because the majority of our customers using our Emerald S are only scanning and then sending to laboratories to make the work. So that software is already released. 

But then we have the design part where you do chairside work and milling at the clinics. That software we are still developing from the old one to the new one and that is coming later this year, maybe in the summertime or a little bit after summertime.

So we can already see the faster scan speeds with the updated scan and send software.

Yes, absolutely. And also the accuracy and how everything is built up. That part is in really good shape.

What sort of change in accuracy have you seen?

Well, we had a study made by the Semmelweis University in Hungary, together with South Carolina University in America. They were looking at different scanners and their software and what kind of accuracy they had. There were four brands that were around the 20-micron line. We were one of them. So, it's looking good!

Yeah, you can't really ask for more than that! Do you have any other updates you'd like to tell people about?

Well, let's put it this way, the next five years in the CAD/CAM business will look very, very interesting because a lot of things are happening now. The majority of people are already accepting that digital scanners are all at a good level at this point. So I would say that we have to grow together with them. When the clinics are starting to use them, we can provide improved services in the software so that their every day work in the clinic is going as smoothly as possible.

A hundred percent agree. That's what we've been saying for years, it's all on the software now. The hardware's there in accuracy and speed, so let's make the software even easier for everyone. Thanks for your time.

Thank you!

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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