Stoneglass® Industries has launched its custom-milled Bio-Infinitum® Implant Bridge (referred to as the BiiB) in titanium giving clinicians and technicians the option of choosing from 2-14 unit superstructures in either direct to implant or direct to fixture configurations. The company now offers dental labs custom milled copings, bridges, abutments and more from zirconia, plastic or titanium.
"We're very excited to finally release the BiiB onto the market," said Georges Sara, managing director of Stoneglass Industries. "All our Scanning Partners and customers have known it was coming for some time and have been eagerly awaiting its release. We are now at a point where we have enough test cases in the mouth and the right manufacturing processes in place to ensure quality and consistency of fit to make it widely available.
"We would like to thank our Scanning Partners who have set the benchmark for our BiiB development. We have been very fortunate to do our research and development on real cases. In the early stages we produced multiple titanium superstructures before the perfect end result was achieved.
"To date, 90% of the cases that we've manufactured were unable to be produced by our competitors. Our Scanning Partners encouraged us to research and develop ways to achieve the results they needed that reflected real world situations.
"An integral part of our success was providing our Scanning Partners direct access to liaise with our research and development team. Having this opportunity to be able to directly communicate the results they required was a major driving factor that supported titanium superstructure development.
"There has been an incredible focus on the use of zirconia in dentistry in recent years which we have also been driving but there are still many indications where titanium is king. When our Scanning Partners make an investment in doing business with us, we see this as an opportunity to fulfill all their requirements so offering titanium abutments and superstructures was a logical evolution for us.
"Hence we've installed two new industrial grade ultra high precision titanium milling machines with 2μm repeatability for production and ongoing research and development. These machines are commonly utilised in industry to manufacture parts for the aerospace industry and just like we did with our three Zirconia milling machines, we adapted the technology to dentistry. These are what are referred to as 5-axis simultaneous milling machines and they are the state-of-the-art.
"We buy pure, medical grade titanium from a certified Australian supplier and we can mill practically anything.
"We will also release the BiiB in Zirconia in the near future. We could mill implant bridges in zirconia now but we are seeing issues with trying to span a full arch with zirconia and we are not comfortable right at this point in time releasing a product that may fail. As we fully realise that while all our products are very cost-effective, any failure in the mouth is a very costly exercise for clinicians. No dentist wants their work to 'come back' and neither do we so our development to this end continues."
Safety and efficacy
Mr Sara highlighted that as an ethical company, Stoneglass has complied with all the requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. All material utilised within the facility as required is included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and is compliant with regulatory requirements pertaining to the current medical device legislation.
From humble beginnings...
Mr Sara founded Stoneglass Industries as a dental laboratory in 1989 when he was working as a Senior Dental Technician in the employ of Westmead Hospital in Sydney. The vision then is as strong and entrepreneurial as it is today.
"We see our mission is to revolutionise and modernise dentistry by providing knowledge and confidence that today's technology is available through choice and that there is nothing to fear.
"An integral part of our development has been the introduction of our research and development company Bio-Infinitum. Bio-Infinitum researches and develops Stoneglass products including Zirconia, Titanium and Plastic. Bio - represents the medical aspect of the Stoneglass product range and Infinitum refers to Stoneglass Industries' ongoing research and development programme.
"As an entirely Australian owned and operated company, we have created an innovative ceramic production system specialising in dental cosmetics setting an industry standard that is now recognised around the world.
"We have brought together a diverse team of professionals including dentists, dental technicians, medical engineers, software engineers, ceramic specialists and machining experts to make this happen. We have consistently used the highest quality expertise available both within Australia and overseas and our highly skilled team of motivated professionals has produced a state-of-the-art industrial scanning and milling facility for the dental industry. Our aim of developing a dental milling system is to give our customers flexibility in their choices.
"This is why we have continued to offer more and more options and material choices as it is both commercially prudent and also ensures we stay ahead of our competitors. And because we are the milling centre, we can offer more choices without passing on the costs of purchasing capital equipment, research and development and tooling up. As our customer, your options just keep expanding."
Training and education
Mr Sara said that more training and education was essential for the future development of CAD/CAM in dentistry.
"We are continually expanding our training program as our customer base grows and our product range increases.
"We are now opening the doors of our plant on a regular basis so clinicians and technicians can see first hand how this technology is used to deliver the products they order remotely.
"All dental technicians are typically fascinated by process and it's very exciting to see these huge robotic milling machines carving out the basis of their artistry while they look on. It suddenly completes the picture and in some cases opens up a whole range of new options.
"It is also an opportunity to showcase the investment we have made in the dental industry and how this can help technicians and their dentists build their businesses on the back of leading edge medical solutions. As we like to say, we produce innovative solutions that make dentistry enjoyable."