Full Support Every Step of the Way: A glidewell.io™ Practice Report
Business decisions made by clinicians are driven by two important goals: profitability and positive impact on the lives of their patients. As technology evolves, many clinicians are discovering that investing in a chairside milling system is a decision that can accomplish both of these goals. The potential to help a wider group of patients in a new, more efficient way, coupled with the prospect of an investment return, is driving a growing number of clinicians to start searching for the right in-office system.
There are multiple reasons why clinicians in search of single-visit dentistry systems are increasingly turning to the glidewell.io™ In-Office Solution. Affordability compared to other chairside systems on the market is one major reason. Ease of use, a short learning curve, and the ability to mill fully sintered BruxZir® zirconia in the office are others. But perhaps the most often-cited benefit when users are asked why they chose the glidewell.io In-Office Solution involves not only the system itself, but also the full library of support and service that stands behind it.
Clinicians who use the glidewell.io system to create same-visit crowns for their patients are given full access to the dental CAD capabilities of Glidewell Laboratories, developed through millions of digitally fabricated restorations. Customer support, design services, one-click lab submissions, and educational materials are all available via the glidewell.io interface. This makes the experience of submitting cases better suited to fabrication at Glidewell, or receiving one-on-one live assistance, a seamless one.
These advantages, along with the system’s compatibility with his existing intraoral scanner, were the deciding factors in Dr. Scott Barton’s choice to purchase an in-office milling system for his practice. Dr. Justin Chi recently sat down with Dr. Barton to discuss his experiences implementing and using the glidewell.io In-Office Solution, as well as how the system compares to similar technology he has used in the past.
DR. JUSTIN CHI: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your practice?
DR. SCOTT BARTON: Certainly. I’m a practicing dentist at Whispering Oaks Family Dental in San Antonio. It’s hard to believe, but next year will be my 30th year in dentistry. I still love what I do.
JC: And your practice recently adopted the glidewell.io In-Office Solution.
SB: That’s correct. We’ve had the iTero Element® Intraoral Scanner for some time. So once I had information that Glidewell had a mill that has compatibility with the iTero, I said, “Sign me up.”
JC: What has been your experience with CAD/CAM dentistry? When did you first get into it, and how has it changed the way you practice?
SB: I’d heard about CAD/CAM and the CEREC® in-office system when it first came out. It was expensive at the time, and the feedback that I saw tended to be a little negative when the technology was first emerging, with issues like crown breakage, seating problems and restorations coming off. So I didn’t pay much attention to it during those early days.
Later, after I sold some of my practices, I took a position with an office that had CEREC technology. After seeing firsthand how advanced in-office milling technology had become, I learned that it was doing great things. Choosing to purchase the glidewell.io system for Whispering Oaks was the next step for me, and it was a no-brainer: iTero, Glidewell mill, perfect pairing, great benefits, in my office — done.
JC: That’s great. So starting out with CEREC, as you did, compared to the months you’ve now had with the glidewell.io system — can you tell us a bit about the differences between the two that you’ve experienced so far?
SB: Getting used to things in terms of the software differences has been pretty smooth. Once you get the flow of the technology, the glidewell.io system, in my opinion, is much easier to use than CEREC. CEREC is great — I’m not going to knock that system at all. It’s great technology. But the iTero paired with fastdesign.io™ Software and the fastmill.io™ is, in my opinion, a step up for what I do.
JC: That’s great to hear.
SB: The Glidewell service, their support, is the biggest difference for me. Any time I call for help with the glidewell.io system — whether I’ve got a question on crown design or mill operation — I make one phone call and they’re all over it. They’re helping me out tremendously.
JC: With advanced technologies, it’s important to have that support, and Glidewell Dental definitely takes that seriously.
SB: CEREC didn’t have a lab for me to contact like Glidewell does. It would have been a challenge to find someone with the time and ability to help and somehow remote into my system. It would have been an exception to the general workflow with CEREC, whereas with the glidewell.io system, it’s part of what you’re paying to have. And it’s wonderful.
Not that I need the help very often. The learning curve is very simple. The software’s intuitive, so even for somebody just getting into it, you can do single crowns on day one, and be comfortable and confident with it. From there, you quickly develop your own process and follow your own learning curve. You get to the level you want at whatever pace works best for you. It’s in your hands.
JC: What materials do you find yourself using the most as you’ve worked more in-depth with the glidewell.io In-Office Solution?
SB: I’m using BruxZir NOW milling blocks for the posterior, and I’m also using Obsidian® blocks (Glidewell Direct; Irvine, Calif.), which are a lithium silicate glass ceramic that’s similar to IPS e.max® (Ivoclar Vivadent; Amherst, N.Y.).
JC: I’m assuming, because you couldn’t use BruxZir zirconia with the CEREC system, that you’ve also undergone something of a transition in terms of selecting materials.
SB: Yes. In terms of CEREC, their product was IPS e.max. They couldn’t mill a BruxZir crown, which was a drawback. I know a lot of dentists who say: “I’m only going to do BruxZir restorations. If I can’t do BruxZir restorations I’m not going to bother with chairside milling.” Well, that’s not an excuse anymore because the glidewell.io system can do it, and I’ve milled some beautiful BruxZir crowns with the glidewell.io system.
JC: What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed in terms of your practice since incorporating this technology? You mentioned good responses from your patients. How has that influenced your process on a day-to-day basis?
SB: Well, it’s fun. You can train your staff to use the glidewell.io system, so that you as the doctor, once you get that crown prep, can walk out and go see another patient. The team can do the scan, get it set up in the fastdesign.io Software, and call me when it’s time to check the margins and go through the actual design process. So I do that, and then we let the mill, technology and software do the bulk of the rest of the work.
And of course, the whole time the patients are sitting there with their own technology — their iPhone, or the television in our waiting room — and just relaxing. And they’re happy because they’re going to get their crown placed with comfort that day. So they love it. A lot of my patients have already had crowns. They’ve been through that process with impression material in their mouth. Maybe it didn’t feel or taste good, or it was gagging them. They’ve also gotten temporaries that came off once or twice, or weren’t smooth or comfortable. There’s a whole list of different problems with the traditional crown procedure, and those things aren’t issues anymore with the glidewell.io system in place. And the patients know it’ll all happen in one visit, usually within about 90 minutes. Certainly in under two hours.
JC: Before we wrap this up, do you have any tips for practitioners considering this technology?
SB: As dentists, we love technology, and we like to build things with our hands. When you implement the glidewell.io system, you’re still doing that — you’re just doing it on another level. Plus, it’s making you a better and more efficient dentist. That doesn’t even touch upon the cost savings. I’ve cut my lab bill in half. And that’s not counting all the other costs that aren’t related to the lab, like the actual cost of your time with patients in the chair. The improvements in all of those areas are great.
JC: Thanks for joining us. I appreciate your time and this great information. We’re glad to hear the glidewell.io system is helping your practice offer patients single-appointment dentistry.
SB: I’m a fan. And my team loves it because it makes their lives easier as well. We still do bridges and other things, of course. But the single-unit restorations are the bread and butter, and this system is a winner for those.