The decision to convert your dental lab from a traditional workflow to a digital workflow can be an exciting and scary one. Making the transition can also open many doors for the small labs. While digital technology helps labs achieve greater efficiency, flexibility and allows for consistent result, it also enables small labs the opportunity to expand their client base and offer new products to new and existing customers.
When deciding which mill, the DWX-4W or DWX-52D, DWX-52DC, or the DWX52DCi is right for your lab, you also need to consider which mill will be a better fit now and in the future. What are your lab's goals as you move to a digital workflow? Are you going to want to expand your client base, increase the number of units you mill in a day, or offer custom abutments or screw retained bridges?
Here are 6 questions you should ask yourself before buying a Roland Mill for your lab:
- Do I want to do custom abutments? We feel that the best option for these intricate parts is the simultaneous 5-axis milling of the DWX-52 series. Often the tools cannot reach inside diameters without the aid of the 5th position. Also the series will support the smaller .6mm and .3mm tools.
- Do I want to create screw-retained bridges? Like the custom abutments, the requirements of these intricate and complex restorations require smaller tools, tighter angles, and compensations to achieve ideal results. The DWX-52D series is the answer.
- How many units do I plan on milling in a day? Many smaller labs will produce less than 7 units per day of full contour single or bridge units. A small, 4-axis mill may work well for that. However if you think that you would need to produce up to 20 units or more per day the DWX-52 series with a 98mm disc would give you an advantage in time over 4-axis mills.
- Do I want to do removable restorations? The DWX-52D, DWX-52DC or the DWX52DCi with 98mm pucks will give you the sizing you need to produce PMMA or Wax Partial Denture frames for casting or the full denture arch size and thickness for acrylic pucks.
- Will you be milling any glass ceramics? Wet milling is required when milling glass ceramics, such as lithium disilicate and also when milling felspathic porcelains and composite resins. With Roland's introduction of the DWX-4W, there is now an affordable option to run a wet and dry mill alongside each other without the need for time-consuming, back and forth set-up and cleaning of a single machine.
Which way should you go?
While there is no right or wrong answer - it is important to have a clear picture of where you see your lab going in the future. By asking yourself these questions, it will certainly give you a better indication of whether the DWX-52 series or DWX-4W is right for your lab.
Editors Note: This blog was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.