Mr. Tom Rogers, the General Manager for Materialise Dentals’ U.S.
division, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to
discuss the SimPlant Platform and its many applications in implant
dentistry. Materialise Dental is the leader in dental implant software
and has an international market base.
OsseoNews: Mr. Rogers, could you please describe how your computer software can be used effectively in implant dentistry.
Mr. Rogers: We recognized that one of the most significant issues
facing implant dentistry was pre-surgically determining the optimum
location, angulation and depth to place an implant and translating that
to surgery. The SimPlant Platform of services was developed to present
this information to the treatment team in a user-friendly,
cost-effective manner. Complete understanding of the patient’s
underlying bony anatomy, prior to surgery, is critical for a successful
To use SimPlant effectively, it’s best to start with the desired
outcome. A proposed prosthesis is created in barium and given to the
patient to wear during a CT scan. SimPlant is fully compatible with
conventional CT scanners, as well as the new low-radiation, cone-beam
CT scanners. After the scan is taken, the data is converted to a
SimPlant study to begin review and planning. The treatment team works
with the non-distorted 2-dimensional images and fully interactive 3-D
images to create the surgical plan. Every pixel of the patient’s
anatomy is revealed in SimPlant and navigation with the software’s
tools is simple.
OsseoNews: After creating a treatment plan in SimPlant, how can you transpose this information for the clinician? Once the clinician finalizes the plan, what happens next?
Mr. Rogers: The clinician sends the completed treatment plan to Materialise Dental for production of a surgical guide. The SimPlant software allows for transfer (upload) of the plan via the internet to our secure web server. We extract the plan into specialized CAD-CAM software to produce a 3-dimensional surgical guide. The SurgiGuide is used as a drilling guide for implant placement. This provides the most accurate means for placing the implants, because the Guide is created directly from the well thought-out treatment plan.
OsseoNews: How is the actual implant placement facilitated?
Mr. Rogers: First, the SurgiGuides require cold sterilization. Then, the implant sites are prepared in accordance with the type of Guide being used. A bone-supported SurgiGuide requires opening a flap to expose the bone. A tooth or mucosa supported Guide is used. The Guide accommodates the clinician’s complete drilling sequence, starting with the pilot. The drilling is performed with complete accuracy for location and angulation. Depth can be controlled with custom drills.
OsseoNews: This seems like a highly accurate and seamless process that maximizes chances of successful placement and osseointegration.
Mr. Rogers: Our goal is to eliminate factors which introduce uncertainty into dental implant placement. We provide the means to guide the entire process of implant treatment planning and placement. Using SimPlant and SurgiGuides allows for a systematic and stable approach to the process which yields a predictably successful result each and every time.
OsseoNews: What is the start-up cost for your program?
Mr. Rogers: SimPlant Planner is our treatment planning software. To use Planner, it’s a 3-step process. One: Send the patient for a CT scan, wearing the proposed restoration created in barium; Two: Convert the CT data to a SimPlant study. Three: Treatment Plan with SimPlant Planner. The cost of CT scans and the conversion of data vary from state to state. Clinicians can speak to their local Materialise Dental Regional Account Manager to get pricing specific to their area. The cost of the software varies, because of optional features, so, again, it’s best to speak to an Regional Account Manager who can determine the appropriate configuration for the clinician’s situation. I can tell you that the software is very cost effective and can even become a revenue builder for the practice.
SimPlant Pro is our self-processing software, which allows the clinician to directly import the CT data as a SimPlant file. SimPlant Pro is most valuable when used in conjunction with an in-office CT scanner. With Pro, the clinician has complete control of the data from CT scan to treatment planning and has access to tools for maximizing the usefulness of the data. We configure the Pro software to meet each clinician’s individual requirements; therefore, the Regional Account Manager will prepare a price quotation.
OsseoNews: Are your programs user friendly?
Mr. Rogers: Very user friendly. You do not need to know a great deal about computers to use our software programs. If you understand Microsoft Windows®, you can operate SimPlant.
OsseoNews: What kind of training programs do you offer?
Mr. Rogers: We offer half day training programs at our US headquarters in Glen Burnie, MD (just 2 miles from BWI Airport) on one Friday every month, and the fee is only $125. We also offer one to two-day programs all over the US. If you visit our website, www.materialise.com, you can view a list of these courses. These courses are designed to help novice and intermediate users become experts and are conducted by clinicians that have been using our products for years. Clinicians purchasing SimPlant Pro receive a full day software training at their office. It’s to everyone’s advantage that we train the clinician, as well as one or two office staff, on the use of the software and treatment planning techniques.
OsseoNews: Do you have a specific software application for cases where the implants and prosthesis are all inserted on the day of surgery? Does your company offer a specific product that accommodates immediate loading?
Mr. Rogers: Yes, we call our system for one-day surgery and placement of the prosthesis Immediate Smile. This immediate load scenario has been available since 1999, when the surgical guides were first introduced. We have continued to refine the process by adding the SAFE SurgiGuide, which guides the depth of drilling, in addition to the location and angulation. The implant team uses a medical model of the patient’s jaw in conjunction with the SurgiGuides to simulate the surgery, place analogs, and prepare the prosthesis. Clinicians should contact their Regional Account Manager for specific instructions on this process.
OsseoNews: Do you have a help desk?
Mr. Rogers: We have a help desk that is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST.
OsseoNews: What kind of feedback have you received from clinicians using your products?
Mr. Rogers: We have been getting great feedback over the last 13 years. Clinicians using SimPlant and SurgiGuides appreciate the Open Platform which accommodates any implant preference and surgical style. SimPlant is recognized as an established product which can eliminate the uncertainty factor from pre-surgical planning. All aspects of the patient’s anatomy are revealed and clearly displayed with SimPlant. SurgiGuides eliminate any uncertainty from surgery by guiding the drilling process with precision. SurgiGuides are the link between a good treatment plan and an excellent surgical result.
We are proud to count among our customers many of the top thought-leaders in the dental industry - professionals that shape the direction of implantology with their published research and timely lectures. Plus, our products are used in every major dental school in the US because they don’t inhibit the student’s learning based on implant brand. Materialise Dental can leverage these valuable user resources to continuously improve the products and services we offer.
As an emerging company in the US, we can react quickly to market changes in order to keep our customers on the cutting edge of technology. On the other hand, we are a company with years of experience in computer guided implantology bringing a wealth of technical knowledge to our users.
OsseoNews: Thank you again for your time Mr. Rogers. We are looking forward to future developments in your software programs and applications.
Interview conducted by
Gary J. Kaplowitz, DDS, MA, M Ed, ABGD