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Closed vs. Open CAD/CAM

Make the move to digital dentistry with confidence by learning more about the differences and similarities between closed and open CAD/CAM systems.

In recent decades, dentistry has made some huge advancements on the technological front. One of the most exciting changes is the adoption of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) processes. First explored as a tool for dentistry in the early 1980s, this technology has become increasingly commonplace in today’s modern dental practices. The technology also continues to advance in its own right, which means that dental professionals are constantly learning new and exciting applications for CAD/CAM dental software.

For those who want to learn more about their dental chairside CAD/CAM options, it’s important to understand the two main types of systems available: closed or open. Take a closer look at each one to decide which is right for your dental practice.

Closed CAD/CAM Systems

A closed-architecture CAD/CAM system is one that is compatible only with the components from a specific manufacturer. This type of CAD/CAM does not integrate with components that are produced by any other company. While this type of dental equipment may seem limiting, it can eliminate a lot of the hassles and headaches that come with choosing from a wide variety of vendors. 

For example, there are no concerns about compatibility between components in a closed CAD/CAM system. All the parts are made to work together seamlessly, so while there may be a smaller selection available, there won’t be any issues with the components you use. In addition, there aren’t different manufacturer policies to navigate concerning things like installation, service, training and warranties. You’re only dealing with a single vendor, which helps streamline the process and make things as simple as possible.

Open CAD/CAM Systems

In an open-architecture CAD/CAM system, you can integrate components manufactured by a wide variety of outside vendors. This creates a much higher level of flexibility when it comes to choosing dental components. It can also allow dental professionals to make more budget-conscious choices since they can select components from manufacturers with more affordable costs.

Of course, the flipside to these benefits is the potential for incompatibility between components. It requires a high attention to detail and a deep understanding of how these components function to make sure that everything will work together properly. It helps to have a staff that can handle communications with several different vendors and sort out any issues with warranties or service that may arise. 

Selectively Open CAD/CAM Systems

There is one compromise which may work if you can’t decide between an open or closed CAD/CAM system: The selectively open CAD/CAM system offers a balance between the two, with the option to use third-party components on a limited basis. This gives you more options while limiting concerns about quality and compatibility among a variety of components. Generally, a selectively open CAD/CAM system will have a list of approved vendors that have been fully evaluated to ensure that everything performs as expected.

Since CAD/CAM systems are becoming increasingly necessary for today’s dental labs and practices, it’s important to carefully consider which of these options will work best for your practice. If you have any questions, our team at DuraPro Health will be happy to assist you.



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