Need some advice/info on getting set up

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pabl0

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Hello everyone,

I'm a dentist who's lurked here for a while... Mostly to see the crap you guys have to deal with and to learn a little more about how you do what you do. I have a history of cad/cam work and design, and got into 3D printing before it was commercially available for at home hobbyists. Built a couple 3D printers and even a desktop cnc for my woodworking stuff. Always liked getting to design and make stuff from scratch on my own with these skills.

With that in mind, I am about to purchase a dental practice and would like to get set up with the ability to produce/mill zirconia crowns in house. I am already going to be set up for scanning and milling emax in office, as well as printing models and making nighguards and clear aligners, but I'm lost when it comes to equipment needed for zirconia milling. The handfull of dentists that I've talked to who have things setup in house say they've spent 80k+ making additions to their homes and buying all the equipment needed to do this. I for sure don't want to take that deep of a dive into my pockets just yet. My office has some extra space with proper hookups for electric and air/water that I can utilize, and I'd like to see what could be possible on a budget.

My questions are the following:
1. If I was interested in buying used equipment to start.. what machine/ brands would you guys recommend for milling machine and furnace?
2. What software is generally preferred for designing? 3Shape or Exocad are the ones I've read about, any others?

For the time being in my current city, I am planning on going to the best lab that I know of in the town to learn as much as I can on my days off. Wanted to post here too and see what ya'll have to say. Thank you for your time in advance.
 
CoolHandLuke

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80k is about par for the course sir.

used mills 20-40k

used scanner and design sw 8-20k

used furnace and puck stock 8-20k

compressor and dryer system 2-10k

infrastructure to place the equipment in the lab space 2-4k

shading system, tablespace, porcelain oven, opaque system, and color corrected lighting for accurate shade match for picky patients +++

you get off pretty easy at 80
 
Pronto

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You could start with designing and sending out the file to me milled. Easy enough.
 
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mmbh

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Best Bet would be to make sure you've got the practice running smoothly and profitably first, then work your way in.
 
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mmbh

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Being completely candid here, the top 5 producing practices that we work with, which also happen to be some of the busiest practices in town, none of them have any milling equipment at all. Doesn't mean it doesn't have a place in a practice, but keep in mind what your practice goals are. 3 of those 5 now have scanners.
 
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pabl0

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Best Bet would be to make sure you've got the practice running smoothly and profitably first, then work your way in.
I completely agree. I will be focused on this primarily, but shouldn't take too long. Right now just trying to do the research and learning as much as I can. Being educated on the topic will help me prepare for the future at least.
I don't plan on being the biggest dentist in town, just the most efficient in what I can do and offer -while delivering quality work. You do make a good point though. I appreciate your thoughts

You could start with designing and sending out the file to me milled. Easy enough.
This is a great idea, and something I've considered doing to start just to get my feet wet while I ramp up.


80k is about par for the course sir.

used mills 20-40k

used scanner and design sw 8-20k

used furnace and puck stock 8-20k

compressor and dryer system 2-10k

infrastructure to place the equipment in the lab space 2-4k

shading system, tablespace, porcelain oven, opaque system, and color corrected lighting for accurate shade match for picky patients +++

you get off pretty easy at 80
It's interesting that you say that. I have in the office already a primescan, as well as the mill for cerec emax stuff. I just want to add on what I need for zirconia. Office already has compressor and vaccum systems. I also have a spare of each that I can use as needed.

Looking to learn more about the equipment involved in the zirconia side of things.
What are the most reliable milling machines? Do they each have their own software to go with said machine or are they "open" systems
What software do you guys prefer using for designing?
I'm at the stage where I don't even know some of the questions I should be asking to learn more.
Thank you all
 
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enfuse419

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Hello everyone,

I'm a dentist who's lurked here for a while... Mostly to see the crap you guys have to deal with and to learn a little more about how you do what you do. I have a history of cad/cam work and design, and got into 3D printing before it was commercially available for at home hobbyists. Built a couple 3D printers and even a desktop cnc for my woodworking stuff. Always liked getting to design and make stuff from scratch on my own with these skills.

With that in mind, I am about to purchase a dental practice and would like to get set up with the ability to produce/mill zirconia crowns in house. I am already going to be set up for scanning and milling emax in office, as well as printing models and making nighguards and clear aligners, but I'm lost when it comes to equipment needed for zirconia milling. The handfull of dentists that I've talked to who have things setup in house say they've spent 80k+ making additions to their homes and buying all the equipment needed to do this. I for sure don't want to take that deep of a dive into my pockets just yet. My office has some extra space with proper hookups for electric and air/water that I can utilize, and I'd like to see what could be possible on a budget.

My questions are the following:
1. If I was interested in buying used equipment to start.. what machine/ brands would you guys recommend for milling machine and furnace?
2. What software is generally preferred for designing? 3Shape or Exocad are the ones I've read about, any others?

For the time being in my current city, I am planning on going to the best lab that I know of in the town to learn as much as I can on my days off. Wanted to post here too and see what ya'll have to say. Thank you for your time in advance.
That's great that this dentist would like to make more or control more, would it be profitable or worth his time, I'm sure he knows the history of the dental
lab and where it came from. As a technician it saddens me to see such conversations like this even to allow it here on this space. Just because someone
quietly and gently asks for advice or answers do we or should give it out so easily? I've also noticed more and more dentist on this platform always asking for more insights and answers to production and trade knowledge and we for years built up to only see our fees constantly shrink. In this era of automation
we as a trade may soon be stripped more and more of what we do. Does this happen in the dentist area of practice. Do patients involve themselves in self
remedy and diagnosis? Maybe, but for the most part not really. So should we protect what we have left or ultimately leave this dwindling field to the scanners, printers, mills and now dentist who ultimately will make things cheaper, faster, easier. Has the dentist gone down in their own fees? Do they get
ripped off when a patients dental insurance covers partial the cost, no...their fees have gone up and they place the patient in a binding contract before patients can even be seated in the chair and no to the latter statement, they do not lose anything when insurance doesn't claim everything the difference is just merely billed to the patient or you and your family.

So, beware brothers, open info can be your untimely death especially to the person who ultimately is your only way of making a living.
The only thing we have left.... because all the vendors and some brothers have sold it away a long time ago.
 
bigj1972

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Hello everyone,

I'm a dentist who's lurked here for a while... Mostly to see the crap you guys have to deal with and to learn a little more about how you do what you do.
Welcome Dr,
You start down the in-house road, you gonna find out real quick.

Take my advice, stop while your ahead before wasting any time and money. There is a reason the Lab is seperate from the Office.
 
TheLabGuy

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Welcome Dr,
You start down the in-house road, you gonna find out real quick.

Take my advice, stop while your ahead before wasting any time and money. There is a reason the Lab is seperate from the Office.
Shhhh...I'm going to buy all that 80k equipment for 5k in six months when they find out playing lab tech isn't what it's cracked up to be. ;)
 
bigj1972

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Shhhh...I'm going to buy all that 80k equipment for 5k in six months when they find out playing lab tech isn't what it's cracked up to be. ;)
Same logic as a realtor who thinks they are gonna buy a hammer, nails, chopsaw, and lumber to build their own houses to sell. That way they get them faster and can make more over commision.
 
TheLabGuy

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Same logic as a realtor who thinks they are gonna buy a hammer, nails, chopsaw, and lumber to build their own houses to sell. That way they get them faster and can make more over commision.
Everybody wants to play lab tech these days...it makes me giggle because the truth is it takes years if not decades to become proficient and profitable. No machine can replace that and trust me, I have over a million dollars in machines. Now this doesn't stop me from teaching who wants to learn...for instance, I will teach assistants how to do lab relines and repairs, simple prints for custom trays, record bases, and night guards, adding a porcelain contact. Why?...because I charge a shlt load and they interrupt my bench time during the day and they usually can become proficient/profitabiy doing them. Does this hurt my bottom line, not really, you don't make much on them and the plus is you build a stronger working relationship with that specific assistant/office. Plus, if I was a patient, I'd hate to come back for a custom tray or have to go to the lab for a reline to get back same-day...just my two cents.
 
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doug

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Point of reference for all who are here. Pete Dawson's father was a lab technician. Pete went to dental school and knew how to do lab work, but didn't. His time was better, more profitably spent doing dentistry. He knew that he could not be everybody's everything in the dental practice, so he focused on what he did best. Then he and LD Pankey got together and made history. Oh yeah, they split and both made even more history. If you've ever been to either of their institutes you know they are about lifting up everyone on the team.
 
bigj1972

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Point of reference for all who are here. Pete Dawson's father was a lab technician. Pete went to dental school and knew how to do lab work, but didn't. His time was better, more profitably spent doing dentistry. He knew that he could not be everybody's everything in the dental practice, so he focused on what he did best. Then he and LD Pankey got together and made history. Oh yeah, they split and both made even more history. If you've ever been to either of their institutes you know they are about lifting up everyone on the team.
Yeah hard to lift up the team when some bozo wants you to make units for 125, then to 99, then go to 75. And then you still charge too much or take too long.

But yes Dawson Academy and Pankey Institute are a different class of Dentist.
 
rkm rdt

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Now let’s talk about ceramics …
 
CoolHandLuke

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Now let’s talk about ceramics …
just like Dental CADCAm i am slowly learning that Dental Ceramics is a verysmall part of a much larger field, rife with a lot more procedure and artistry than gets used in toothmaking. the whole relationship between the thrown objects and the several cycles to become earthenware... its a big subject.

where dental ceramics is just a small fraction of that world.

very much like dental cadcam.
 
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joebaker

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Just take first step in your career plan, it will be the only difficult thing to do. Further situations will not be difficult only but they will be challenges too which you will enjoy.
I just have 1 more thing to say that being a Dentist in Edmonton, My experience in the field says that always be smart worker, kind and result oriented person. Many people start but very few reach to the top of their own expectations.
 
rkm rdt

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just like Dental CADCAm i am slowly learning that Dental Ceramics is a verysmall part of a much larger field, rife with a lot more procedure and artistry than gets used in toothmaking. the whole relationship between the thrown objects and the several cycles to become earthenware... its a big subject.

where dental ceramics is just a small fraction of that world.

very much like dental cadcam.
I have met many patients who would say the ceramist is the most important person in dentistry.
 
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LarryRDC

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And, they have the best knowedge for Cad design...
 

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