The Isiah Lew Research Award and Our Role in the Future of Dentistry

Jim Glidewell honored by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) for contributions to implantology.

December 4, 2023
Jim Glidewell image
Jim Glidewell, CDT
The Isiah Lew Research Award and Our Role in the Future of Dentistry Hero

Having recently been honored with the Isiah Lew Award from the AAID for contributions to implantology, I can’t help but wonder: What else can we do to advance dental technology?

I’m just a technician. But Glidewell has assembled an R&D team consisting of 21 Ph.D.s and 70 engineers — real scientists looking to solve dentists’ everyday challenges. Is there a larger group out there in the dental technology community? Not to my knowledge.

To date, they’ve been issued 150 patents, with another 100 pending. All because we decided years ago not to rely solely on vendors for their material recommendations, but to instead ask ourselves: What is the best material for clinicians and their patients?

BruxZir® Zirconia proved to be a breakthrough material for crowns and bridges. When I started the research in 2007, I was hoping to produce a material that would be reliable, easy to fabricate, and very inexpensive. Wow, did that work out. The CRA study of 700 crowns in the mouth for seven years without one failure? I owe Dr. Rella Christensen immense appreciation for goading me to come up with a “Volks-crown” — superior in quality and readily affordable. With gold priced today at $1,950 an ounce, and zirconia at $6 a pound, it’s hard to imagine a more accessible alternative.

We’ve also worked diligently to improve access to same-visit dentistry. Our™ In-Office Solution has been installed in thousands of dental practices, which are currently producing more than 7,000 chairside crowns a week. This is a tremendous service for patients, which naturally makes it a great practice builder. A single-appointment treatment with no need for temporaries? It’s something patients happily tell their friends about. Embrace these technologies, and you’ll be among the fastest-growing dental offices in your area.

I’m confident that our ongoing research into 3D printing and software development will also bring about significant improvements in a clinician’s ability to fabricate bite splints, dentures, partials, sleep appliances, and more — all in the office. It will give patients one-stop shopping for dental services, and relegate labs like ours to larger, more complex restorations only. That’s the way it should be. A little pain for labs, but better service for patients and their providers.

And that has to remain our objective: patients first. All other rewards will stem from that.

Jim Glidewell
Jim Glidewell's Signature

Jim Glidewell, CDT
Founder and President, Glidewell

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