Blueprint's FutureLabs 2017

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Blueprint Dental’s FutureLabs 2017 event “a winner”

“I can see what Blueprint is trying to do with its FutureLabs initiative and I applaud the effort. It recognises the changing needs of dental technicians in the UK and goes a long way towards addressing them. In my eyes that makes it a winner.” Laurence Grice-Roberts from Medit Dental, above (right) with Blueprint Dental’s co-founder Sharaz Mir.

2017 marked the third year for the Blueprint Dental FutureLabs event, a full day of talks, lectures and exhibitor interaction plus networking opportunities for the attending delegates. The packed day continued after Dental Review had left, but our notebook was already brimming with jottings that will fuel more articles in the weeks to come. Some have already been posted, to read them click here and here.

It was fitting that in 2017, one of the centenary years of the Great War, the first speaker, Rowland Gardener, a clinical dental technician and the Head Dental/MPT technician at King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, should cast his audience back to events in 1917.

Men were coming back from the trenches of the Somme after suffering horrific injuries and Sir Harold Gillies and his team at Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup, where Rowland once worked, were performing miracles in the early days of maxillofacial reconstruction. Rowland presented slides that demonstrated how soldiers’ faces were being remodelled using pedicles and flaps to graft/grow skin back onto damaged or missing features including noses, ears and foreheads.

The pioneering graft work we saw carried out by Gillies could be performed today using bio-printed skin. When a graft couldn’t work in 1917 the dental and technical mechanics of the day would use molded tin and oil paint to create a life-like restoration. Today the same job would be printed from silicon elastomer to exactly match the patient’s skin colour.

We were then treated to an overview of the incredible strides the team at King’s have taken in orthognathic surgery, using 3D CAD software and CBCT scans for planning, treating and correcting major trauma caused by accident or malice, or revising problems a patient had suffered since birth. We will look more closely at this in a future issue.

Andrew Wheeler is a crown and bridge technician who specialises in implants. He decided to go digital four years ago, and his car crash journey into the technology made an entertaining presentation we will be pleased to come back to at a future date. Prepare to smile, wince, and laugh.

Sylwia Arispe from Leeds-based Beever Dental has been beta-testing Livento Press and Soprano 10 lithium disilicate ceramic and now uses nothing else. We will look at these products in earnest at a later date, but have been informed by Swiss manufacturer Cendres + Métaux that Soprano 10 will be launched into the UK early next year, perhaps by Easter, and will be at the Dentistry/DTS show in May. Sylwia had worked in Europe and the US before coming to Britain, and has gained a lot of experience across a range of materials, but, she says, this is the kit she uses now.

Lino Adolf has been a CAD/CAM user since 1998. He went digital to save time. “Time,” he says, “is our most crucial asset.” His lab is now 90% digital and is a centre of excellence for Dentsply Sirona. He believes digital technology changes the dentist/patient/technician interface. Find out how later this month.

Chris Kabot made a sterling presentation on behalf of his company Envision TEC, one of the leading manufacturers of 3D printers in the dental arena and the third largest 3D printer manufacturer in the world. There are pitfalls to be avoided when investing in 3D print technology, but the science has come a long way since the first printer was developed by Chuck Hall in 1984. His talk will make interesting reading in Dental Review before Christmas and the New Year closes the UK down and we say hello to 2018.

That was just a quick overview of a fascinating and informative event and Dental Review thanks Sharaz Mir and his team at Blueprint Dental for the invitation to take part. It was great to feel the lively buzz in the rooms and hear the informed and intelligent level of debate. The day taught us one thing, the technology is already here to help ensure dental labs have a future.

For more information about Blueprint Dental visit http://blueprintdental.co.uk/