Delcam will demonstrate the latest releases of its DentCAD and DentMILL software for the design and manufacture of dental restorations within the medical technologies area of the AMB exhibition to be held in Stuttgart from 28th September to 2nd October. The AMB organisers have identified the healthcare sector as an important market for the metal-processing industry and have made it a major theme for the exhibition. This reflects Delcam’s increasing emphasis on solutions for medical and dental applications.
Delcam believes that its latest programs offer higher levels of consistency and accuracy than other dental CADCAM systems. As a result, they can minimise, or even eliminate, manual adjustment of the restoration as it is being fitted, and produce restorations that give improved comfort and that are more durable.
As well as improving accuracy, Delcam has increased the range of restorations that can be designed in DentCAD. The new version offers automated tools for the design of inlays and onlays, and for the creation of dental bars, customised abutments, collars and pressed crowns, in addition to the previous options for copings, crowns and bridge frameworks.
The greater accuracy is essential for inlays and onlays to give a good fit with the remaining portion of the natural tooth. If the restoration is oversize, it either has to be ground down manually, which is difficult and time-consuming, or it needs to be re-made. Alternatively, any undersized items are likely to become loose prematurely.
Similarly with dental bars, high precision is important along the full length of the bar, which may need to match as many as six implants. Any inaccuracies will push the teeth out away from the desired position, so affecting the appearance of the treatment and putting unwanted pressure on the jaw.
In the new release, extra analysis tools have been added to DentCAD to ensure that the designs can be manufactured efficiently and will perform satisfactorily. For example, undercut shading can be used to identify areas where five-axis machining might be needed so adding to manufacturing costs, while thickness shading will highlight any areas in the design that might be too thin to give a durable restoration or that might chip or crack during manufacture.
Improvements to DentMILL reflect the recent enhancements to Delcam’s PowerMILL engineering CAM system on which it is based. These include support for the latest hardware developments, such as 64-bit operation, multi-threading and background processing, that can significantly reduce calculation times.
A number of improvements have been made to give smoother toolpaths, in particular for five-axis machining. These new techniques not only give a more accurate surface finish on the restoration but also protect the cutters and the machine tool by minimising the stresses during machining. In addition, the range of five-axis machining options has been increased with the option to undertake constant-Z undercut machining.
After its high levels of accuracy, the key benefit of Delcam’s dental software is that the programs are extremely easy to use and so are ideally suited, not only to dental technicians that are already using CADCAM, but also to those that have no previous experience of computer-aided design and manufacture. Both DentCAD and DentMILL use dental terminology and imagery to guide the user through the entire design and manufacturing process.
It is expected that many companies will want to use DentCAD alongside DentMILL. However, in keeping with the company’s "open” approach to its software, either program can be used with any combination of scanner, design software, machining software and computer-controlled machine tool.