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Interview: "eLAB helps you follow new paths; digital try-in is a game-changer" Sascha Hein

Sat. 29 January 2022


As we usher in the new year, India is on the brink of a digital dentistry revolution. With intraoral scanners becoming commonplace, we have begun integrating digital dentistry into our daily workflow. For our very first interview of 2022, we welcome Mr. Sascha Hein, the Managing Director of eLAB, who is leading the next revolution in shade management to service dental patients better whilst eliminating costly re-dos.

Nisha Deshpande: I wish you a very Happy New Year, Mr. Hein. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with us. First off, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sascha Hein

Sascha Hein: I commenced my training in dental technology in Munich, Germany, in 1994 and graduated in 1997. In 2001, I completed further studies in dental ceramics under Masahiro Kuwata in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating (2005) from Master School in Freiburg, Germany, I was inducted (2007) into the international Oral Design group by founder Willi Geller.

In 2012, I was also inducted into the Bio-Emulation group, an international think tank that has come up with many innovations and novel treatment concepts in dentistry. I served as president of Bio-Emulation from 2014 - 2016.

Together with Dr. Panaghiotis Bazos and Dr. Javier Tapia Guadix, I developed the eLAB system from 2013 - 2016. From 2013 to 2017, I furthered my education in color science and optical physics under the mentorship of Professor Jaap ten Bosch, with a special focus on tooth fluorescence.

I am a published author and a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals. I live and work in Freiburg, Germany, and I am the managing director of Emulation S.Hein.

What exactly is the eLAB system?

The eLAB system transforms your digital camera into an easy-to-use shade matching system, resulting in better shade matching and improved relations between the dental office and the dental laboratory.

Using artificial intelligence and advanced image processing algorithms, eLAB_prime transforms a digital camera into easy to use shade matching system.

 How does it work?

The clinician needs to take a standardized photo using a standard DSLR or MILC (Mirrorless Camera) together with our polar eyes filter and grey reference card. This image is then sent to the laboratory, which can process it with our eLAB_prime software to measure the target tooth color and obtain a patient’s personal mixing recipe. Moreover, the software allows for a digital try-in to preview how the restoration integrates clinically before delivering it to the surgery and at a time when it can still be adjusted and optimized.

elab shade matching

What has been the driving force behind your innovation? What problems were you encountering before this? 

The eLAB system was simply born out of necessity - from servicing referral-based prosthodontic practices over the last twenty years. It is a true innovation that fixes a long-standing problem: reliable shade communication and shade matching in dentistry. However, true innovation also requires a change of behavior. In this particular case, it requires strict adherence to protocols, and this is true for the clinicians as much as for the dental lab.

It is also worth mentioning that the eLAB system has been designed to complement the skills and experience of a well-trained dental technician instead of replacing them. The radical nature of the eLAB system requires you to let go of established ideas and to follow new paths.

What do I need to learn before integrating the eLAB system in my practice as a clinician?

The eLAB system is centered around a strict protocol for standardized dental photography that needs to be followed. There is a free photographic protocol that can be downloaded from our webpage https://elabprime.com/photo-protocol and there is also a tutorial that you can watch on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/SaschaHeineLAB

You can also watch the video in the header of this article.

What are the common errors that I should avoid in this regard?

The most common mistakes that routinely occur in the dental practice are
- the failure to switch off TTL (through-the-lens),
- to use the manual flash mode instead with flash output set to maximum (1:1 – Full) to prevent underexposed images, and
- the tendency to underestimate the effects of tooth dehydration during the shade determination.

Clinical studies have shown that the threshold for tooth dehydration lies below 2 Minutes of continuous exposure to air. Remember to take the shade image before you commence treatment or a few days afterward, but not in between treatment, as tempting as that may be.

How does this system help dental ceramists worldwide?

The eLAB system helps to take out the guesswork for shade selection and allows for reliable shade communication over large geographic distances. The scientific nature of the eLAB system allows for accurate shade quantification using an established color appearance model such as the CIELAB system instead of relying on stock shade guides for which there are no industry uniform standards.

For me, as a dental ceramist, the digital try-in is a game-changer. To be able to preview the final result before delivering the restoration to the surgery is a massive advantage that gives you peace of mind.

Above all, however, the eLAB system helps the dental lab to maintain good relations with the dental office by minimizing the threshold for complications.

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