According to a new series of reports on the Europe dental CAD/CAM materials market by iData Research, the European CAD/CAM block and disc unit sales are growing rapidly. Dental labs and orthodontic and smaller dental offices are continuing to expand their milling capabilities. The cost-effective ability to rapidly produce devices on a same-day basis and at a lower long-term cost will allow dental offices to increase their patient intakes. When compared to manual prosthetic and mould creation, milling machines save not only time, but also energy and materials. This trend has resulted in an increase in the size of the associated block and disc markets.
The CAD/CAM market includes both permanent and temporary material types for blocks and discs. The vast majority of the market consists of approved materials and there is a strong incentive to closely link a millable material with a machine. Doing so can ensure reliable purchases of blocks or discs. Permanent materials include ceramics, porcelain, glass ceramic, lithium disilicate and metals like titanium, cobalt chrome, while temporary substances are most often waxes. With the introduction of zirconia and hybrid resin substances, prices will be able to increase slightly to match innovation.
“Prices for discs have been dropping consistently,” explains Dr. Kamran Zamanian, CEO of iData. “The similarity of many of the existing materials means that competition by pricing has been the go-to route.”
Discs have had and continue to have significant average selling price declines. This trend has resulted in lower dollar value growth for the disc market segment. However, the usage of discs is more efficient. More prosthetics can be milled more cost-effectively when using a disc. Therefore, it is necessary to have large orders to meet the scale required to remain profitable and to keep milling machines functioning throughout the year. In an industry dealing with a large number of units and stiff pricing competition, reducing costs is all too important.
The leading competitor in the overall CAD/CAM materials market is Ivoclar Vivadent. They are a significant player in the block market together with Sirona, DENTSPLY and VITA Zahnfabrik. In contrast, the disc market is shared by such names as Amann Girrbach, Zirkonzahn, Whitepeaks Dental Solutions, Dental Direkt and JUVORA Dental.
Ivoclar Vivadent’s share in the disc market came from its purchase of Wieland Dental in late 2012. This brought a variety of disc options under the Zenotec and Zenostar names including zirconia, wax, acrylic, chromium cobalt and titanium. More recently, it was announced that DENTSPLY and Sirona will merge in a $13.3 billion deal. A variety of goals included the ability to be a total solutions provider, allowing all products to be bought through one source, as well as increasing the scale and breadth of the product line. Other competitors in the European markets for dental CAD/CAM materials include 3M ESPE, Eisenbacher Dentalwaren, Glidewell Laboratories, Sagemax, etc.