Interview: “Excellence made easy” through speed, user friendliness and precision

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Dr Alexander Völcker, group vice president of the dental product group CAD/CAM and orthodontics, in conversation with Dental Tribune International. (Image: Dentsply Sirona)

Mon. 24. February 2020


Dentsply Sirona recently introduced its new grinding and milling unit—CEREC Primemill—to the world. More than 200 international key opinion leaders and press representatives attended the exclusive product launch in Berlin, Germany. Dental Tribune International had the opportunity to speak with Dr Alexander Völcker, group vice president of the dental product group CAD/CAM and orthodontics.

Dr Völcker, the well-proven CEREC system has reached a new level with the introduction of CEREC Primemill. What led you to develop the unit and what exactly sets it apart from previous models?
Owing to the intensive contact that we maintain with our customers, we always know exactly what questions and topics concern them. In addition, our engineers are always coming up with new ideas as to how products and solutions can be improved. Of course, CEREC MC XL was and still is a great grinding and milling unit, but about four and a half years ago, the time had come to bring these new ideas to life and invest again in developing a completely new machine. We were convinced that the market would respond well to the numerous new features.

Völcker spoke about the latest developments in digital dentistry at the Dentsply Sirona Global CEREC KOL Summit in Berlin. (Image: Dental Tribune International)

At first glance, the CEREC Primemill does not appear to differ that much from its predecessors, however and yet, it is quite different. We have deliberately given the new system the tag line “Excellence made easy”. This statement is founded on the key principles of speed, precision and user friendliness. The speed at which restorations can now be manufactured represents an economic and a structural value—for dental practices and, above all, for patients. For treatment durations of more than 75–90 minutes, renewing anaesthesia is almost always necessary. With the new CEREC workflow, a patient can be treated in only one session without having to receive another local anaesthetic. In terms of accuracy, the newly developed fine tools ensure that fissure details can be very precisely drilled out. Furthermore, when combined with the easy-to-use touch interface, the technology practically eliminates minor errors, such as those that can occur when choosing tools or materials. That’s what “made easy” means to us.

After the successful introduction of the Primescan intra-oral scanner last year and now the CEREC Primemill, Dentsply Sirona is staying focused on innovations in chairside dentistry. Is this the area in which you see the greatest development potential?
We were pioneers in this area. Today, we are clearly the market leader and will continue to drive chairside technologies forward. In this respect, we adapt to the varying needs of our customers. Many of them don’t want to plunge straight into single-visit dentistry, but would rather get to know the digital process first and continue working with their laboratory. This is why, for instance, we entered into an extensive collaboration with exocad in the area of digital dental workflows last year.

“From our perspective, the CEREC system that we have today is more attractive than ever before”

With the all-new CEREC, dental professionals get a full system with great flexibility for reliable results. (Image: Dentsply Sirona)

Despite the steadily growing range of digital products on the market, many dentists remain on the threshold of digitalisation. What is Dentsply Sirona doing to advance the level of digitalisation in dentistry, and what role do you think dental education plays in this regard?
The penetration of digital technologies in dental practices is growing noticeably. Dentistry is currently going through a crucial transition period. We have recently become very strong in this area also, owing to the successful launch of Primescan. However, there is no question of the market being saturated yet. From our perspective, the CEREC system that we have today is more attractive than ever before. Hence our slogan “Now is the time—the all-new CEREC”. We believe that the system has reached a level of maturity that enables an interested user to change his or her practice in a commercially effective way over a relatively short period.

Education is of huge importance in this regard. Dentists and dental technicians are people who work with their hands, and they want and need to experience the products themselves. Presenting something exclusively on screen can certainly arouse interest. However, we are convinced that it is only through personal experience that interest turns into enthusiasm. That is why events and continuing education courses at which our products can be experienced first-hand are an important building block for us in winning over customers.

Dentsply Sirona sees itself as a full-service provider. How important is the CEREC system in your product portfolio?
CEREC is extremely important. The digitalisation of dental practices will influence and advance many other developments in the group as a whole. Our technological advantage helps us to tie in other technologies and improve them further. The entry into the CEREC workflow also impacts upon other areas of our work, for example that of materials. Here too, we are constantly making new developments so that the customer can get everything under one roof.

“The purely manual workflow can often bring about excellent results, but this is not always true and, above all, does not always happen consistently”

What role will CEREC play in the dental practice of the future?
This touches on the question of the clinical gold standard of the future. Nowadays, the traditional workflow using conventional impression and laboratory production is essentially the clinically established workflow. However, I believe that this will have to be reassessed in the years to come, especially in light of technological progress. The purely manual workflow can often bring about excellent results, but this is not always true and, above all, does not always happen consistently. The results depend heavily on the practitioner, his or her skills and the way he or she feels on the day. With a digital workflow, these factors only play a minor role. Digitalisation offers great advantages in terms of excellent, predictable results. The establishment of a new gold standard must come from clinical practice, however. We are aware that many clinicians are already investigating this.

CAD/CAM Cerec Chairside dentistry Dental restorations Digital dentistry Grinding Milling Milling machine Single-visit dentistry

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