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Dr Hendrik Zellerhoff uses the KATANA Zirconia Block for a range of procedures in his dental practice in Laer in Germany. (Photograph: Hendrik Zellerhoff)

Interview: “The future of dentistry will be digital”

By Kuraray Noritake Dental
June 20, 2019

As the operator of his own dental practice in the German town of Laer and a member of the Digital Dental Academy in Berlin, Dr Hendrik Zellerhoff is clearly a very busy man. Fortunately, his integration of Kuraray Noritake Dental’s KATANA Zirconia Block into his daily workflow means that he is able to deliver high-quality restorations to his patients faster than ever. In this interview, Dr Zellerhoff explains how he uses the block and how his patients have responded to it.

Dr Zellerhoff, can you tell us a little bit about your background as a dentist?
In 2003, I began working as an assistant and at this time I worked with the CEREC system, a system for which I am now a certified trainer. In 2005, I opened my own dental practice in Laer, which I continue to operate to this day.

When did you first begin to work with Kuraray Noritake Dental’s range of products?
I think it was about four or five years ago that the laboratory that I worked with told me how good Kuraray Noritake’s KATANA Zirconia discs were for sintering and fabricating full-zirconia crowns. At that point, however, I was only looking for materials that would work with CEREC, and so it wasn’t until early 2018, when I went on a course in Leipzig in Germany where the KATANA Zirconia Block was being demonstrated, that I really saw how I could use this product in my practice. The block’s integration with the CEREC system means that it is now possible for me to provide high-strength aesthetic zirconia restorations for my patients accurately and quickly.

How frequently do you use the KATANA Zirconia Block during your daily work as a dentist?
I think around once a day, on average. It varies—sometimes I may make restorations for three different patients on one day, and then it’s four days until I use it again. My CEREC is only able to conduct wet milling, however, which is obviously slower than the 15-minute time span made possible through dry milling, and this limits how often I can use it.

What do you like most about this zirconia solution?
For me, it both feels and looks very real, so it has this aesthetic function going for it. Its multilayered, highly translucent appearance definitely helps to achieve more natural-looking restorations. However, the mechanical strength of the material is also something that I like, as it means that it can be used for restorations with thinner walls and sharper margins than those made with glass-ceramics.

With the release of the KATANA Zirconia Bridge Block, do you expect to use this zirconia solution more?
Oh, absolutely! The ability to make aesthetic bridges in the molar area and in a single visit is a revelation to me.

What has the response from your patients been?
They love it! These procedures can be realised on the same day as their initial appointment, and this means that my practice has patients coming from far outside of the small town in which I live. We even get people coming all the way from Switzerland to receive KATANA-based treatments—that’s how positive the response has been.

With this focus on digital dentistry, is there still a role for the dentist as a craftsperson?
I love to work with an entirely digital workflow. If a machine can do something better or faster than I am able to, then that is all right with me. As far as I can see, the future of dentistry will be digital. At the end of the day, the goal stays the same—to provide my patients with results that they are happy with.

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