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Dental Lab Products - 10 Questions

May, 2014

1. What's the background of Strategy Milling? How long has it been around, how does it work with APMR and who is in leadership?

Strategy Milling was the idea of Don Mappin who surmised that if labs were still making gold crowns, the obvious benefits resulting from milling and digitizing would benefit that restoration type and the industry just as it has for so many other materials and processes. The figurative groundwork was put in motion in the beginning of 2012; it employs Atlantic as a refiner and testing facility and service; Scott Mappin is VP of Operations at Strategy.

2. What led APMR to form Strategy Milling?

Late in 2011, Scott Mappin; Don's youngest brother, resigned a lab position in Pa and found himself unemployed. Don offered a position. Scott was in his 33rd year as a technician and unwittingly became an asset to Atlantic, providing that would eventually transform Don's idea into a reality. Scott had spent the previous 5 years focusing in different aspects of digital forms of dental technology. From being a trainer for 3M's LAVA COS and training over 100 dental offices to use and integrate that intraoral scanner, to being a manager in large milling and outsourcing laboratories such as Issaquah Dental Lab & Albensi Dental Lab. These three opportunities provided the foundation of knowledge regarding how to create Strategy Milling.

3. What were you hearing from the industry that led you to know it was the right time?

Nothing... realistically there was no one banging down the door for this service. We simply looked at it through the lens of a precious metal refiner that built its business refining all sorts of dental scrap and our understanding of the state of the industry:

  • Gold crowns are still being made; albeit at a lower rate than in previous years
  • Atlantic; a precious metals refiner for over 25 years, saw that gold was leaving dentistry through the eyes of the scrap lots it was collecting and asked the question "Why?" We surmised that there was still a desire and need among clinicians and lab owners alike for this product. So, how do we help the customers who helped build Atlantic? Let's provide a services that is more cost effective to continue to produce affordable gold alloy prosthetics
  • Outsourcing has become a larger more accepted way of doing business in the lab industry

4. How has the technology changed that enables Strategy Milling's gold milling?

  • Milling machines and software have both lowered in price and risen in capability
  • Milling has benefits that surpass the lost wax and cast technique when comparing the two results side by side

5. What's been the response from around the lab industry?

While we anticipated quicker growth, the response has been extremely positive. The only negative from my perspective is that there is confusion out there that other companies who are sintering seem to have lab owners and technicians thinking they are milling and these are two very different processes. We have not found any other milling center or company in the USA that is milling gold alloys.

6. What have you heard from labs and dentists who have used Strategy Milling?

  • We hear from labs using Strategy that they have been very satisfied... the quality surpasses the expectation.
  • While we don't sell to dentists directly, we do hear from them that they like to place gold restorations, love the track record gold has as well as its positive attributes such as: malleability, track record, ease of placement and removal, and being non-antagonistic. Strategy has in a sense, stabilized the cost of manufacturing and labs that are in a position to scan and design are in a strong position to sell a flat fee gold restoration to their clients.

7. In your opinion, what does gold offer to labs that other alternatives don't?

Specifically, "milled" gold offers a laboratory a restoration containing the following positive attributes: Lower cost of manufacturing; higher quality of internal "fit" when comparing the state of our milled product as the customer receives it VS the state of a divested gold crown that has been cast; less finish time from the fit and external surface texture... and if designed properly, a great way to save money as the lab is only paying for the restorations weight and not the typically accompanying sprue system. Other than that, it falls back to what are now becoming the classic discussions between the available alternatives. Do YOU believe that gold is good? We do. We believe it to be more reliable, more user friendly for all involved... lab, Dr., patient, and a better product than Zirconia, Lithium Dislocate, composites, or most high fusing PFM's for posterior restorations.

8. What makes Strategy Milling different from other milling center options?

We only sell precious alloy milled products.

9. How will Strategy Milling change the industry?

We believe Strategy will become the standard in the industry for producing gold prosthetics as labs learn about our products and service. We are bringing gold restorations into the digital age. Our plans for the future focus on broadening our product offering to the market.

10. Anything else you'd like to add?

Labs now have a resource to aid them in not only manufacturing gold products more efficiently, but attaining what Dr.'s would like to see... a flat rate gold restoration. For labs that do this, and market it to their dentist clients, they could see their gold business grow!

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