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Exocad Insights 2020: Annual event for manufacturers and users of dental CAD/CAM technologies

With almost 2,000 participants on-site and online, seven international guest speakers and a large exhibition with 41 partner companies, exocad Insights 2020 was a successful global event for CAD/CAM manufacturers and users of digital technologies in laboratories and practices. (Image: exocad)
Eva-Maria Hübner, Germany

Eva-Maria Hübner, Germany

Thu. 12. November 2020


DARMSTADT, Germany: On 21 and 22 September, the second exocad Insights took place—this time in a hybrid format, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 300 dental technicians and dentists visited the darmstadtium international congress centre in Darmstadt to participate in lectures and an exhibition by 41 partner companies. The in-person component of the event was possible thanks to strict compliance with the federal and state rules for social distancing and hygiene. Around 1,600 further users of digital technologies in laboratories and practices from 55 countries joined exocad Insights 2020 via a live video stream.

“The hybrid event format enabled us to reach far more users than would have been possible with a solely in-person event,” reported a delighted Tillmann Steinbrecher, co-founder and CEO of exocad, in summarising the success of the event. Novica Savic, chief commercial officer at exocad and moderator of Insights 2020, added: “We at exocad are convinced that there is a solution to every problem. In a creative process, we reinvented Insights 2020 as a hybrid event.” The idea was to make the on-site event accessible on a virtual platform to all those who were unable to travel at the time. The on-site and online experiences complemented each other: comments, questions and selfies from laboratories, practices and the living rooms of the online participants were regularly displayed and integrated into the event.

Internationally renowned digital experts, some of whom have been using exocad since the start, presented the opportunities for digital dentistry that the open exocad software architecture offers. The highlights of the diverse programme included the world premiere of the upcoming DentalCAD 3.0 Galway and exoplan 3.0 Galway release, as well as the presentation of the Cellerant “Best of Class” Technology Award 2020. Just a few weeks ago, ChairsideCAD received this renowned award for the second year running. ChairsideCAD was the first CAD software to receive this award.

This was a true Insights highlight: exocad’s software ChairsideCAD received the renowned Cellerant “Best of Class” Technology Award a few weeks ago—for the second time in a row. The founders of exocad, Maik Gerth, chief technical officer (left), and Tillmann Steinbrecher, CEO, were very pleased with the Cellerant expert jury’s decision. (Image: exocad)

At exocad Insights 2020, 41 partner companies took the opportunity to present new materials as well as hardware for scanning, milling and 3D printing. Thanks to cutting-edge digital communication technology, online participants were able to visit the booths virtually. Serena Santoro, sales manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at exocad, went on a tour of the exhibition grounds with a camera team, providing viewers with an alternative live stream. On stage, Steinbrecher thanked the partners for their commitment and trust in Insights 2020.

Exocad has supported the Italian charity Overland for Smile for several years now, and the proceeds from a T-shirt campaign were donated to the charity this year. Purple T-shirts bearing the slogans “JUST CAD IT” and “arCADe champion” were designed specifically for Insights 2020, and exocad employees sold these shirts to on-site visitors. German company smart optics also organised a charity auction, raising €14,700 for Doctors Without Borders.

Strict hygiene and social distancing measures were put in place at darmstadtium in order to ensure adherence to the regulations imposed by the German state of Hesse and the German federal government. Thermal scanners installed at the entrances to the congress centre were used to measure visitors’ body temperatures, and all participants were issued with social distancing bracelets that warned them when the distance to other participants was less than 1.5 m.

“A decade of digital innovation”

To start the event, Steinbrecher told the story of exocad, describing the period between 2010 and 2020 as “a decade of digital innovation”. Maik Gerth, chief technical officer at exocad, and Steinbrecher first met during a joint research and development project on CAD/CAM in dentistry at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research in Darmstadt. Their vision was to create easy-to-use CAD software for dental technicians, and the first version of DentalCAD was completed in 2009. In 2010, the pair then founded exocad. Today, exocad is the world’s leading original equipment manufacturer of dental CAD software, boasting over 37,000 installations in more than 150 countries around the world.

Looking forward to Galway 3.0

This introduction was followed by a global premiere of a new product. Michael Kohnen, global application support manager at exocad, unveiled Galway 3.0, the upcoming DentalCAD and exoplan release with a new user interface inspired by Google Material Design. DentalCAD and exoplan are now even more intuitive, and functionality and speed have both been improved. Kohnen presented many of the brand-new software features.

The participants witnessed a world premiere at exocad Insights 2020: Michael Kohnen, global application support manager at exocad, presented the new features of the upcoming software releases for DentalCAD, one of the world’s leading software solutions for laboratories, and for exoplan, the open implant planning software from exocad. (Image: exocad)

Aesthetics with Smile Creator

Waldo Zarco Nosti is a dental technician and passionate DentalCAD user from Spain. He creates realistic and highly aesthetic restorations using Smile Creator. He begins his process with the precise aesthetic analysis of his patients, using a digital workflow to unlock completely new options. 2D photographs of the patient are uploaded to Smile Creator together with an intra-oral scan, creating a virtual patient in the laboratory. In the Galway 3.0 release, Smile Creator automatically recognises eye position and lips, simplifying the aesthetic analysis. One of the new features is the ability to use smile design to create a mock-up, enabling the patient to see his or her new smile not only on a display, but directly in the mouth. This allows the patient to see the result directly in the mirror and offers dental practitioners new options when it comes to patient consultation.

Live surgery: Guided implantology and immediate loading

Uli Hauschild is a dental technician from Italy and expert in navigated implantology. He and Dr Michael Berthold from Germany presented the case of a patient, Patrick. While Hauschild explained Patrick’s case on stage, Berthold began the surgical procedure on the patient. The operation was streamed live to darmstadtium from the Carolinum Plus dental care centre at Goethe University in Frankfurt in Germany. The patient received eight Progressive-Line implants (BioHorizons Camlog) in his edentulous maxillary arch, and these were immediately loaded with a temporary prosthesis.

The video transmission of the live surgery by German dentist Dr Michael Berthold was another highlight of the programme. He inserted the implants precisely as planned with the software and was able to load them with a temporary restoration immediately. (Image: exocad)

Hauschild presented the planning approach for the procedure, including diagnostics, digital data recording, aesthetic planning with Smile Creator, virtual planning of the implant positions using exoplan and prosthetic design using DentalCAD. Berthold commented on the surgical steps: extraction of teeth that could not be retained, placement of the surgical guide, the drilling protocol and guided implant insertion, and the immediate loading of the prefabricated, custom temporary prosthesis. Berthold and Hauschild treated the complex case employing a consistent workflow on exocad’s open software platform.

Single-visit dentistry

What can a dentist do with exocad in practice? At Dr Michael Scherer’s practice in the US, the digital workflow is integrated with an intra-oral scanner, a 3D printer and a milling machine. In his practice laboratory, Scherer uses the entire portfolio of the DentalCAD laboratory software to create long-span prosthetic restorations. For smaller cases, he uses ChairsideCAD, particularly for patients who prefer higher-quality treatment rather than a direct filling. Designing such restorations using ChairsideCAD and producing the prostheses in the practice in just one session has become part of his everyday work. In his view, the main advantages of the chairside workflow include the predictability of the results and the greater patient satisfaction compared with direct fillings.

Curiosity as a success factor

In his keynote speech at the end of the first day of Insights 2020, business psychologist Dr Carl Naughton from Germany presented study results showing that curious people are more successful, have more friends and experience more joy in later life. According to the study, the reason for this is that curious people ask more questions, thereby demonstrating genuine interest, and they find it easier to tackle new challenges, such as a digital workflow.

Efficiency in practice

In the clinical session on the second day of Insights 2020, Dr Gulshan Murgai from the UK provided detailed insight into his digital workflow, covering data recording using the iTero intra-oral scanner (Align Technology), designing using ChairsideCAD and manufacturing using a milling machine or 3D printer. He showed his approach in real time using example cases from his practice. He also gave many tips and tricks for designing crowns and the subsequent virtual implant placement using exoplan. Murgai likes using ChairsideCAD and exoplan because of the open software platform and the associated ability to select hardware irrespective of the manufacturer.

Working efficiently means working digitally—that was the takeaway message from Dr Michael DiTolla from the US, who showcased his entertainment skills during his presentation. In a humorous manner, he presented examples of extremely poor analogue scans, before highlighting the benefits of digital intra-oral scanning. Intra-oral scanning enables precise, high-quality scans to be captured in very little time, thus being a perfect example of efficient working, according to DiTolla. In addition, the precise scanning increases the quality of the restoration. His most important message was that close collaboration with dental technicians has made him a better dentist.

Tips and tricks in the partner and exocad sessions

In 11 partner sessions, both online and on-site participants received practical advice from renowned speakers on how to integrate digital technologies in the laboratory and practice, as well as on how to design digital workflows. The focus was on integrating intra-oral scanners, milling machines and 3D printers.

In a clinical session, UK dentist Dr Gulshan Murgai presented on guided surgery and single-visit dentistry using exocad software solutions exoplan and ChairsideCAD for the clinical environment. (Image: exocad)

Together with exocad software experts, users were able to dive deeper into the software applications during the laboratory sessions. They received many tips, for example on the use of the DentalCAD Bar module, PartialCAD, FullDenture module and Implant module. Based on an example case, the software experts highlighted the simplicity with which a seamless workflow can be implemented across different modules on the exocad software platform. This also applies to exoplan with Guide Creator for the planning of surgical guides and the subsequent prosthetic design using DentalCAD.

2020 CAD/CAM Digital dentistry Event Exocad Insights

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