LMT Magazine’s recent issue features a report of their 2022 C&B caseload survey. The article provides a great view of how digital technology has impacted crown and bridge workloads. Here’s a breakdown:
DIGITAL C&B FABRICATION GROWTH
Digitally fabricated C&B restorations continue to grow.
Dentists are more accepting of newer technologies so they’re embracing digital impressions. The number doctors sending IO scans has jumped from 18% to 30% just since 2020.
MORE LABS EXCLUSIVELY DIGITAL
Many dental laboratories have eliminated conventional fabrication techniques. Instead, they are relying on intraoral scans to design and mill as a full contour cases. This removes lengthy wax and stack steps while still providing an accurate and cost effective workflow.
METAL-FREE CONTINUES OVERTAKING METAL
In 2005, only 17% of all C&B workloads were metal free. Now, in 2022, a whopping 77% of crown and bridge restorations are created without metals. The significant switch is likely due to high alloy prices, labor-intensive PFM fabrications and superior strength of monolithic materials.
Most labs would agree that metal-free materials reduce remakes. A lot of older dentists, however, prefer metal-based restorations. As these older dentists retire, the shift to metal-free will continue to accelerate even though full gold crowns may always be around.
DECREASING DEMAND FOR VENEERS
44% of survey respondents say there as been no change in the number of veneer cases they are doing. 38% say that they are doing fewer veneer cases over the last five years. Only 18% of dental labs claim to be doing more veneers.
More dentists seem to be opting for full coverage crowns because of technique sensitivity and somewhat high failure rate of veneers. A lot of the time the esthetics of veneers can be easily accomplished with zirconia and disilicate/silicate.
FULL CONTOUR’S STEADY RISE
The share of full contour cases in the lab has grown from 45% in 2015 to 74% in 2022. The continued growth is driven by full contour zirconia, improvements in translucency and availability of multilayer materials and color systems. It appears that full contour zirconia is “here forever.”
Zirconia seems to be the medium of choice these days due to its strength, esthetics and tissue response. The next big game changer? PRINTABLE zirconia and other ceramic resins.