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President and CEO Jim Glidewell, pictured with his wife, Parvina, said to Dental Tribune at the 2019 Glidewell Dental Symposium that the company has become very large in research and development. (Photo: José Antonio Rosario for Dental Tribune)

Glidewell Dental: A symposium and a rare treat

November 15, 2019

In the crowded field of dental events, where most look and resemble one another, the expertly organized 2019 Glidewell Dental Symposium is a rare treat that plays by different rules. More than 1,000 dentists seemed to agree when they met Nov. 8-9 in Orlando, Fla., at the Hilton Bonnet Creek & Waldorf Astoria hotel for the third annual Glidewell Dental Symposium.

Praised for its clinical, educational and networking values, the symposium offered interesting lectures, short and to the point, which allowed for the inclusion of up to 14 speakers per day. And the panel discussion sessions allowed attendees to ask questions to speakers right after their presentations, providing a direct and interactive communication platform between attendees and experts.

In his opening remarks, Jim Glidewell, president and CEO of Glidewell Laboratories and Glidewell Dental, described how he founded at his home, almost 50 years ago, what is now the largest dental laboratory in the world, with a staff of 5,000 employees.

The CEO of the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company added that Glidewell has also “become very large in research and development” and in finding ways to provide less expensive crowns for patients of all economic strata. “We are trying to do crowns for everybody,” he added in an interview with Dental Tribune.

While the company has evolved into a leader in the development of cutting-edge dental materials, products and digital design systems, like the In-Office Solution, Jim Glidewell walked all day around the exhibit area, where he was available to attendees who wanted to ask him questions, a telling sign of how different the Glidewell Dental Symposium is from other dental events.

Neil Park, vice president for clinical affairs and editor of Glidewell’s “Chairside” magazine, jump-started the congress with a summary of the scientific program, which included lectures by dental professionals such as Jack Hahn, Carrie Webber, Paresh B. Patel, Anamaria Muresan, Randolph R. Resnik or David Hochberg, among others. Lectures were complemented by an intensive program of hands-on workshops, most of them on the second day of the symposium.

The issues discussed provide a clear picture of the advanced way in which Glidewell sees dentistry. They included topics such as “Mill It Chairside or Send It to the Lab?” “Digital Dentistry: Much More Than Crowns,” “Getting Your Patients to Say ‘Yes' to Big Cases,” “Full-Arch Implant Restorations for GPs” or “The Emergency Implant” by Jack Hahn, known for the Hahn Implants System, who was the keynote speaker.

Attendee Ivan Quintana, who practices in Sacramento, Calif., and participates in many dental congresses, said, “I have never seen such high-quality speakers in one day.” Dr. Quintana praised the presentations, saying that they were “very scientific and didn’t mention sponsor companies, as they do in other events.”

From the East Coast, Tampa-based clinician Nicolas Nieto agreed, saying it was an “excellent” event. “It’s well organized, and the topics discussed were very good.” As for the products on exhibit, he said he liked “the new bone graft regenerative materials” of the Newport Biologics line.

The exhibits area showed a large array of materials, products and advanced new technologies. Account Manager Jesse Hernandez explained the digital design system In-Office Solution, which he described as Glidewell’s newest innovation in digital technology.

“It allows clinicians to provide same-day dentistry, along with the most reliable materials like BruxZir, which is the number one zirconia on the market right now,” explained Hernandez. This advanced design software seamlessly integrates data input from the intraoral scanner that is part of the system, guides the clinician step-by-step through the digital design process of the restoration, and suggests the best material to mill it in the most efficient way. All of it can be accomplished in two hours, according to Hernandez, who said the system is very intuitive and easy to use.

Advances in the new material BruxZir Esthetic Solid Zirconia allow this material to be used in the esthetic zone due to its high translucency; at the same time, it’s also strong enough to be placed in the posterior zone of the mouth. Clinicians in fact “can do three-and-four-unit bridges without fearing that it would fracture or that it would not blend in with the surrounding teeth,” explained Anamaria Muresan, clinical research director at Glidewell.

This type of zirconia, which comes sandblasted from the lab, can also be manufactured thin enough so that it’s not bulky on the teeth, she said, so that it can be placed without fear of fracture when applying it with strong pressure.

The use in the esthetic zone of BruxZir Esthetic is due in large part to the inclusion of yttrium, a material that adds a very natural-looking translucency to zirconia. According to Muresan, results of a three-year clinical trials show high esthetics in the anterior zone, durability, and also an easier and more reliable procedure for bonding.

Materials like obsidian ceramics, the Hahn Implants System or a line of products to reduce snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, like the Silent Nite mouthguard, were also shown at the meeting, and Dental Tribune interviewed many product managers, as well as other speakers, stories which we will be publishing shortly.


Javier de Pisón is Editor-in-Chief of Dental Tribune Latin America Edition, which reaches 110,000 Spanish-speaking dentists in Latin America.

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