Gasan Digital Complex, one of Seoul’s national digital industrial complex, is full of digital and IT companies dreaming of innovation. There, I met Ko Dong-hwan, director of D-Lab, and a Medit Link power user who dreams of D-Lab becoming Korea's best digital lab. Let's hear from director Ko Dong-hwan, who has been working on digital manufacturing for nine years.
Could you give us a brief self-introduction to begin with?
Hello, I'm Director Ko Dong-hwan, who runs the dental laboratory D-Lab. I started my digital laboratory (business) in 2010, and in 2017, in collaboration with a few dental technicians I am close with, I set-up D-Lab. I met CEO Kang Won-Sul and director Kim Han-Jun, and started D-Lab with the goal of creating the best dental laboratory in Korea by utilizing everyone’s own strengths and expertise. The “D” stands for Digital Design Dental, and we're working towards becoming the best digital dental laboratory.
Why did you enter the digital dentistry field?
I was working with ceramic when I first chanced upon Zirconia. Back then, prostheses were neither very accurate nor fit very well, but you could see its potential for development and the future. Back then, there was talk that the dental laboratory market would be increasingly difficult, and I was thinking about what a potential breakthrough could be, and I thought that it would perhaps be digital dentistry. So, I began learning CAD/CAM with the mindset of trying something which others could not do yet, and I adopted a digital system for my dental lab.
Have you been using the Medit i500 data a lot in your work?
Yes, there has been an increase in the use of Medit i500 data in my dental lab. With the release of the Medit i500 last year, there has been an increase in the proportion of our work which uses intraoral scan data.
What do you think are the strengths of the Medit i500?
Firstly, the user interface is well-designed. Even those handling the i500 for the first time would be able to use it easily.
Secondly, one can share data easily. In the case of intraoral scan data, if there are any issues with the data or if you need to communicate about work, the ease with which i500 data can be shared allows you to resolve any issue quickly. In the past, I used to communicate by sending screenshots via messenger or email but with the i500, I can immediately check the data on the software and communicate easily without needing to send emails.
Finally, user feedback is reflected quickly. If users give feedback about difficulties that they have with the product or possible improvements they hope to see, the feedback is taken into serious consideration when updating the next version of the software.
In the dental industry, we believe that there are areas where companies, dentists and dental technicians need to communicate in order to develop the industry together, but there are companies that may face difficulties in reflecting user feedback. Perhaps due to this point, the number of dentists using the Medit i500 increased by 10% in the first half of this year alone.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of going digital?
Above all, I would say that the biggest advantages are speed and the quality of the prostheses. In fact, the turnaround time for production has been reduced to just one to two days. In terms of quality, prostheses made from intraoral scan data, especially i500 data, have a significantly lower re-do rate and few occlusal issues. Other benefits include easier communication with the dentist and easier work case management for the dental laboratory.
If there's a downside, I'd say it would be the limitations in application. Intraoral scan data has been used mostly for single-unit to 4-unit cases, whereas other cases are still being done only via rubber impressions. Recently, however, there have also been digital denture cases from time to time.
What advice would you give to doctors who wish to build a digital workflow?
When dentists who are considering the introduction of intraoral scanners ask me for advice, of course the first consideration is cost-effectiveness, followed by the company's customer support, and finally the actual scope of application. In addition, other than those factors, I’d like to ask you to also think about accuracy, convenience, and data compatibility. In this regard, other than its obvious cost-effectiveness, using the i500 also allows for easy communication between all the working partners. In addition, I think it's a good product because you have the flexibility of choosing which software to work with.
More information about D-Lab:
D-Lab dental laboratory offers a variety of digital solutions. They make digital prostheses for various usage such as surgical guides, implants, general prostheses, CAD/CAM, smile design, aesthetic prostheses, dentures etc., and they have dedicated personnel who are specialized in each type of prostheses. In line with the development of digital dentistry, they share various dental knowledge through regular staff training once a week to improve the capacity of all employees. They also hold seminars to train dental hygienists.