In the US we are currently producing 9M new dentures a year. That’s a lot of dentures. More noteworthy, there are now 178M partial edentulous patients in the US. What’s amazing is how few labs produce partial framework. In fact, partial frameworks were likely the first dental restoration to go big on an outsource basis. Many fixed and removable-only labs have been outsourcing CrCo frames for more than 5 decades.
Today, many labs have more than adequate or excess mill capacity and are either outsourcing partials or not even offering this service. Through the advent of new discs such as acetal resin, we can now mill partial frames in most (if not all) dry 5-axis mills. Keep in mind, acetal resin has been around for more than 10 years but most recently is available in disc form. My old lab always outsourced CrCo frames and introduced acetal resin frames to many customers. What’s remarkable, patients and dentists seem to prefer this more flexible tooth colored frame to the industry-standard CrCo cast frames. These acetal resin frames are more cost-effective, very easy to design in CAD software, work with existing PMMA strategies, and mill beautifully, as they come out of the mill with a nearly polished finish. Acetal is very easy on both mills and tools and a frame can be milled in a Roland mill in about 2 hours. If you have extra capacity, you should consider adding acetal resin partials to your product line. After all, a full mill is a mill that makes you the most money. Offering new products increases business. When products are widely accepted by patients you also have a winner. Acetal partials have also taken what has been a very laborious, dirty process into a clean, automated, production workflow.
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