Latest trends in the European dental prosthetics industry

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Written by Dr Kamran Zamanian and Jeff Wong, Senior Analysts, iData Research Inc. The European market for dental prosthetics and computer-aided design...

Written by Dr Kamran Zamanian and Jeff Wong, Senior Analysts, iData Research Inc.

The European market for dental prosthetics and computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) devices is highly sensitive to economic trends, as many tooth restorations may not be considered necessary and are therefore not covered by dental insurance. With less discretionary income to spend, many patients opt to delay these procedures, as was seen during the recession of 2008 and 2009.

This situation was revisited in 2011 with an increasing instability of the economy throughout the Euro zone. The dental prosthetic market, as discussed in iData Research’s recent report, encompasses crowns, bridges, dentures and CAD/CAM prosthetics.

The CAD/CAM device market is dependent on the strength of the prosthetics market and includes a range of devices: full in-lab systems, standalone desktop scanners and chairside systems. In light of rising precious metal prices, the market for high precious and full-cast porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) restorations continued to be quashed by all-ceramic devices in 2011. Furthermore, Sirona maintained a leading position in the CAD/CAM device market despite the challenges of declining prices and emerging competitors.

All-ceramic restorations exhibit highest level of growth within the European crown and bridge market in 2011

The crown and bridge market can be segmented by material type: porcelain-fused to metal, full-cast and all-ceramic. PFM restorations, which have traditionally been the preference of dentists, can be further segmented into non-precious, semi-precious and high precious, depending on the type of metal alloys used.

In 2011, the market for all-ceramic crowns and bridges increased by more than 16 percent, the highest within the European crown and bridge market. Throughout the forecast period, the all-ceramic market is expected to maintain positive growth, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of nearly seven percent. Growth within this market will primarily be driven by the advantages of all-ceramic restorations over its counterparts, including improved aesthetic qualities. Furthermore, the rising prices of precious metals will also have a significant role in the reduction of the high precious and full-cast crown and bridge market. Due to the widespread acceptance of all-ceramics, this product segment will maintain the highest unit growth.

This rapidly expanding market has also had a direct effect on the CAD/CAM prosthetics market, as a large percentage of all-ceramic restorations in Europe are manufactured via such methods. And as the adoption of CAD/CAM technology continues to rise across Europe, so too will the penetration of all-ceramic and CAD/CAM prosthetics.

Sirona maintained leading position in the combined European CAD/CAM device market in 2011

Sirona, a global leader in the dental equipment industry, led the combined European CAD/CAM device market in 2011. This was a result of its presence in three segments – full in-lab systems, standalone desktop scanners and chairside systems – mainly thanks to its CEREC® and inLab® product lines, which encompass both lab and chairside solutions.

Sirona was also the global market leader in chairside CAD/CAM systems and as the pioneer of chairside solutions it has held a monopoly on the market for more than 20 years. However, the company’s position will be challenged in the future by emerging competitors.

D4D Technologies, a US-based company, has recently emerged on the European market with a limited release of their E4D Dentist™ chairside system in the Scandinavian region. Nevertheless, Sirona’s hold on the chairside CAD/CAM market will continue to strengthen its position as a global market leader in the overall dental CAD/CAM industry.

Other prominent leaders in the European CAD/CAM device market include 3Shape, DeguDent and 3M ESPE. In 2011, these three competitors accounted for more than 30 percent of all CAD and CAM systems sold in Europe. 3Shape, a Danish company, quickly penetrated the standalone scanner market with its various industry partners and open architecture business model, which allows their scanners and software to be compatible with a variety of systems.

In addition to the conventional method of milling restorations through CAD/CAM, emerging technologies in the dental industry include rapid prototyping systems which utilise an additive manufacturing process. The majority of competitors in this segment have years of experience with the technology, but have just recently entered the dental market with their systems. They  include 3D Systems and envisionTEC, two global leaders in the rapid prototyping industry. This technology, along with that of chairside intra-oral digital impression-taking devices, is an emerging technology in the European market. And while the initial investment for these systems is high, they are expected to gain widespread market adoption with increasing awareness.

Additional Information

The information contained in this article is taken from a detailed and comprehensive report published by iData Research ( entitled “U.S. Market for Dental Bone Graft Substitutes and Other Biomaterials”. For more information and a free synopsis of the above report, please contact iData Research at: [email protected]

iData Research is an international market research and consulting firm focused on providing market intelligence for the medical device, dental and pharmaceutical industries. Watch their short company movie at:

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