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Meeting one-of-a-kind patient needs

by: Jim Mack

Nobel Biocare's Special Request Service can make a decisive difference when no one else has a solution to offer.

For over 20 years, Nobel Biocare has been offering a unique service to its worldwide customer base that you may not be aware of. A special custom-made device service exists in Sweden that makes it possible to create a one-time solution for a one-time patient need.

No matter how far technology may advance your favorite products, you will always be left wanting more. But when it comes to a special patient need, or even an emergency, you may not be able to find your “dream product” in the marketplace.

With Nobel Biocare’s custommade device service, all you have to do is ask. Your custom-made device can be created in a matter of weeks— or even less in cases of extreme medical emergency.

Not your normal solution

Custom-made solutions are tailored to fit a unique and one-time patient need. These special solutions extend beyond the typical esthetic circumstances and can also be used to assist trauma victims, including those recovering from such serious injuries as gunshot wounds. (See article on the facing page.)

One caveat may be in order: This service is not meant to provide individually designed products for doctors to have in stock for similar indications. There are no catalogs, nor are there any product lists.

While each item is reviewed by the Nobel Biocare regulatory department, custom devices are not CE marked as they are intended for specific patients and not for a general market release. For regulatory reasons, an order is based on a prescription filled out for a named patient only. Each device is classified into one of 15 product categories, under the headings of “abutment components”, “restorative auxiliary”, “surgery components” and “miscellaneous” (which includes maxillofacial surgical components).

Attention to detail

The production process typically takes around five weeks, unless another timeline is decided upon. Each case that comes in requires great attention to detail and must be assessed individually according to Karin Dahlmo, who manages the Custom Devices and Replacement Parts department at Nobel Biocare in Gothenburg, Sweden. “We must look closely at all the circumstances of each case. Decisions are made based upon medical, legal and regulatory requirements.”

As the founder of modern implant dentistry, with more than 45 years at the forefront of implant-based restora-tions, Nobel Biocare takes the responsibility of its heritage very seriously.

The experience and production capability reflected in Dahlmo’s department put the company in a unique position to support clinicians worldwide in their efforts to improve their patients’ quality of life.

In addition to simply recreating discontinued products, Nobel Biocare can further cater to needs beyond its core assortment.

In many circumstances, clinical indications may be so complex that only sophisticated custom-made solutions are the right answer.

The most commonly ordered products are abutments in different heights and angulations from the prefabricated product line. These types of abutments are not available for production with NobelProcera. Other order examples include abutments on broken implants, special sizes for impression copings and screwdrivers as well as individual components for specific clinical situations such as rehabilitation from cranio-facial trauma, cancer treatment or other malformations.

Achieving the desired result is the combination of a close cooperation between the requesting dental professional and some of the most skilled and experienced precision-instrument engineers in the industry.

Requests may inspire product development

Once a unique treatment need is identified it should first be brought to the attention of the local Nobel Biocare subsidiary or customer support. If a solution cannot be found through the regular product line of prefabricated components or NobelProcera individualized products, the responsible clinician must fill out a mandatory prescription form. The order is then reviewed by both custom-device and regulatory officials before approval.

Each custom-made device is individually manufactured at Swedish production sites in Gothenburg or Karlskoga utilizing a specific manual production set-up. After production, the custom device is measured, verified and quality controlled.

This individual production procedure differs from that of the automated production of the prefabricated products. This process flexibility serves as an advantage by allowing the custom-made device team to be actively involved at the beginning of all new product developments.

“In some cases a custom device can serve as the basis for suggesting a new product to the assortment, according to Dahlmo. “This unique merging of customer needs with extensive technical experience and production capability is a value no other company can offer.”

Are custom-made devices the right solution for your patient?

First contact your Nobel Biocare sales office to decide whether a custom-made device is required. If yes, fill in the online prescription form and follow the instructions you find here.

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Looking to add to your skill set? Check out Nobel Biocare's global course catalog to find a training program near you.