eMax CAD and eMax Press are great products no doubt. In fact few products ever brought to market by Ivoclar are ever regarded as anything less than precise, highly esthetic and very well thought out. My only criticism has been the often confusing naming conventions they use to describe and differentiate their product, but let’s put that aside for now.
The topic of this article is eMax and particularly the attention and fanfare received by the now famous eMax CAD, or “blue block”, and its sibling, the eMax Press. Our goal is to underscore the benefits of each, further extol those benefits and give credit where it is due. Lastly, it should be noted that while eMax CAD may be the latest rave in the dental world, it is nothing new to Dale Dental customers who have been using Dale for Empress since the year 2000.
In fact, not only was Empress one of the first restorations ever offered at Dale Dental, but the entire concept for Dale Dental came about because of Empress - a story for another day. Some details here
Throughout our now 10 year history, Dale Dental has provided all types of Empress cases including Empress Press, E2 Layering Technique, CosmoPost and the LVI or Lee Culp technique. eMax is no exception and we have tried milling it using several machines. While we began offering the eMax CAD system in conjunction with our very impressive Kavo Everest five-axis milling, it appears that CAD machining simply cannot yet beat the precision fit and “predictability of design” like the eMax Press. In fact, this is especially true on more complex or delicate shapes like inlays and onlays as well as laminates.
Interestingly, in addition to the fit and “design predictability” of eMax Press compared to eMax CAD, eMax Press is also a bit stronger and offers a seemingly softer and smoother surface finish as well. These benefits may leave some to wonder why use the eMax CAD “Blue Blocks” at all? It seems the biggest benefit to the eMax CAD is likely the time savings achieved through CAD design over waxing and the ability to train a greater number of “off the street” technicians to scan and design these cases.
Truthfully, the text directly from the Ivoclar eMax website probably offers the best comparison between eMax CAD and eMax Press. It cites the CAD is for its efficiency while the Press is lauded for its esthetics, fit, form and function - which would you rather have in your mouth? Ivoclar’s text from the eMax website reads as follows (formating such as bold lettering highlighting strength and esthetic properties are directly taken from the website and have not been modified for this blog post):
IPS e.max CAD unites modern processing technology with a high-performance material. The lithium disilicate glass-ceramic is manufactured in an innovative technological process, unique in the dental industry. The glass-ceramic is processed in a crystalline intermediate phase. In this “soft” state, the material exhibits its unusual “bluish” color and strength of approximately 160 MPa. In this “blue” phase, the restorations can be manually adjusted or cut-back in a fast and efficient fashion. IPS e.max CAD acquires its final strength of 360 MPa and the desired esthetic characteristics, such as tooth color, translucency and brightness, during a simple and quick crystallization process at 850 °C. Subsequently, the crowns can be stained and glazed or veneered with IPS e.max Ceram.
IPS e.max Press The PRESS technique has established itself as a state-of-the-art processing method over the past 19 years and it has become synonymous with esthetic and accurately fitting all-ceramic restorations. IPS e.max Press are new biocompatible lithium disilicate glass-ceramic ingots. They offer the fit, form and function which is expected from pressed ceramics. In addition, they offer improved flexural strength (400 MPa).The esthetic properties have been optimized. Creating all-ceramic restorations has been simplified and they offer true-to-nature properties like never before.
After reading the comparison, which would you rather have?
We are continuing to seek a high-quality solution for milling eMax CAD “Blue Blocks” and we will keep you posted as our progress continues. Frankly, we still concur with Ivoclars description [above] of each product and our customers seem to agree. For those of you that are not customers yet, we invite you to try an eMax Press from your wax up, or we can do the wax up for you. The unit you get from Dale Dental will be fully seated and finished to the margin - no additional fitting or finishing required and no surprises.
Thanks for reading and I hope this did a good job of bringing some much needed attention to an under-communicated and underappreciated little gem in restorative dentistry. So remember, eMax CAD may not always cut it but you will always impress with eMax Press - and we’ll be looking forward to working with you when you do.