Author: Tamara Nazzal

Frederic Rapp, CEO of Open Implants (OI), is dedicated to bringing innovation to the dental industry. In his own lab, which he has grown to be the third largest in France, his operations are highly automated and lean. I have asked him to share more background on what drives him to make change in the industry.

Q. What is your background? How did you get into the dental industry?
I was born into the industry thanks to my father. Two years after completing a mechanical engineering degree, I took over my father’s lab in France and grow it from a two person lab to a 70+ people as of today. Having a degree in engineering has been terrific as it provided knowledge on so many applicable laboratory problems and solutions.

Q. How did you get the idea for Open Implants?
I was an early adopter of CAD/CAM technology in the lab. In conjunction with these technologies there where so many areas on implant prosthetics that were either highly compromised or nearly impossible to produce using CAD/CAM. With a Mechanical engineering background superior solutions were so obvious. Through both frustration and understanding how to improve implant components and workflow and to ultimately improve quality of patient care I cofounded Open Implants.

OI solves so many problems. I took the approach to engineer components for ease of use, improved outcome and biocompatibility. Many manufacturers are designing parts with emphasis on reducing their manufacturing costs. Not OI. For instance, we now fabricate a scan body that has a titanium interface and a PEEK scan top. It comes fully assembled and is much more durable than the all PEEK scan bodies that are readily available in the market. From experience, I know that all PEEK scan bodies once damaged cause havoc in the lab as abutments and crowns can be rotated when finished.

Q. Designing and manufacturing products is a big change from running a lab. I am sure your degree in engineering helped. How did your background help you make that transition?
Producing about 4000 cases a month, many being implant supported, we continuously see the limitations with other products. And yes, my degree has helped us design more ideal components.

I designed these products with the help of colleagues and together we have over 50 years of combined experience as lab owners and we have likely treated more than 80k implant cases.

Digital opens up the world of possibilities for labs. We wanted to provide labs with components for efficient workflows that can provide state of the art restorations with fewer hours of labor using cost effective components form a single source.

We use the most advanced technology to make our products. The machinery that turns our parts are the most precise in the world.

Q. What makes Open Implants different?
A few things for sure. First, we wanted customers to be able to produce prosthetics with a single high quality system. Going to the implant manufacturers makes for different digital workflows being applied on a daily basis. This is confusing for staff and confusion contributes to mistakes. Using so many different suppliers also makes it complicated to manage inventory, as well as, managing pricing as most manufacturers charge radically different prices for similar components. This is also not lean and therefore, much more costly to produce.

Next, we designed all our parts for ease of use, biocompatibility and added features that cost us more to produce but make it more streamlined and predictable for both labs and dentists.

Q. Where is the industry going?
The industry is headed to more chairside crown production. That said, the growing implant market will remain a lab produced restoration for the foreseeable future. Having set up 2 labs using lean manufacturing principals we understand what is needed to provide high quality implant supported restorations at a fair price point. Labs that practice lean process and optimize workflows will control pricing and the future of implant supported prosthetics. This will be far more easily achievable when working with a single quality implant component manufacturer.

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