ETK: Reaching the pinnacle of implant dentistryon 10th September 2018
Nestled as it is in the shadow of Mont Blanc, there is no way anyone could call ETK’s head office unassuming.
For one, it’s a location that’s guaranteed to be stunning all year round. Whether you visit under the blanket of snow that draws tourists from all over the globe in winter, or the glorious sunshine of an Alpine summer, the majesty of the Alps never disappoints.
The Sallanches-based headquarters aren’t just an office – in the same way that ETK isn’t just an implant company.
The building is a design facility, manufacturing plant, warehouse, shipping hub and training centre all in one. It’s where clinicians – long term clients and prospective partners alike – come to learn more about the surgical, prosthetic and laboratory solutions that the company provides. On the top floor is a fully kitted-out training facility, complete with phantom heads and live surgery area.
The dentists and team members who come here from all over Europe to join the embrace of the ETK family are certainly in for a treat.
It doesn’t hurt that they also come here to be wowed by the stunning backdrop, warm welcome – or the level of attention to detail that’s on show.
Passion and precision
Speak to anyone involved with ETK and it’s immediately clear that precision is engrained into the very fabric of the business.
The manufacturing facility itself has to be seen to be believed. Row upon row of industrial milling machines fill one of the facility’s floors, humming with activity as they churn out hundreds of meticulously constructed implants each day.
Nothing is wasted – each machine is calibrated with metronomic regularity and almost religious fervour to ensure that the implants coming out of each are made with a precision that measures in the microns.
These implants have to be precise: there are 25 people in the quality control department alone. Accuracy is a company-wide point of pride.
It’s not just in the milling that this passion is on show, either: head to the area where orders are sterilised and packed and you’ll be greeted by negatively pressurised ‘clean rooms’ where orders are processed.
These theatre-grade rooms look more like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – especially if you stop by during a deep clean shift to see workers in hazmat suits scrubbing every spare inch.
Agility in innovation
You’re probably getting the picture by now: ETK is a self-sufficient powerhouse in a compact package. It doesn’t just manufacture its implants on-site: it designs them there too.
That approach directly shapes another key feature of the company – its remarkable agility when it comes to innovating.
Since being founded in 1992, the company has gone from strength to strength, and a huge part of that is how quickly it’s been able to react to shifting trends and clinical developments, bringing out new products to meet every new need that develops.
The team are keen to point to new designs being worked on live, even during our brief visit to the facility – all ready to bring to market later in the year.
‘Because we’re innovative, it’s easy for us to improve or add to our product lines’ explains Kay Hammond, the company’s National Sales Manager in the UK.
‘Bigger companies can’t react to user feedback or market conditions in the same way – being large is all well and good, but it means that changing anything is like turning a super tanker.
‘For us, it’s the opposite. We can design a product in-house, manufacture a prototype downstairs, and begin testing things within a remarkably small amount of time. Our passion, and our structure, makes it easy for us to innovate. That’s at the heart of what we do.’
It’s the best of both worlds, because ETK is actually a Lyra company – a name that might be more familiar to UK dentists.
By comparison, Lyra is a European giant: it’s present in 27 countries worldwide, with subsidiaries in seven countries, 22 distributors and more than 100 digital dentistry experts at its service.
The organisation boasts implant and digital workflow options that are compatible with the major brands and has two of its own state-of-the art milling centres.
One is in Paris. The other? ETK’s Sallanches headquarters!
The revolution is coming
ETK’s entry to the UK has been relatively low-key until now, but that’s changing as more and more UK dentists become switched on to the company’s outlook.
The advent of the iphysio® Profile Designer (pictured above) is going to shake things up even further. Practically speaking, it’s a three in one healing abutment, though that feels like a dramatically simplified way of describing it.
Designed from the ground up for a digital workflow, the iphysio® Profile Designer is a healing abutment – but it’s also a scan body and impression coping, and forms the basis for temporary restorations to boot.
Perhaps most impressive of all is its approach to shaping the gingiva.
‘Teeth are not round,’ argues the company’s literature. Neither is the iphysio® Profile Designer.
Instead it comes in one of three emergence profiles that more accurately model the shape of the missing teeth. The result? Soft tissues already shaped to provide a beautiful – and effective – emergence profile.
It’s been in the hands of a select few British implant surgeons over the last few months who are already reporting great results.
It pairs beautifully with ETK’s own implant systems Naturactis, Natea and Naturall+ but later this year, the company is ushering in compatibility with a host of other systems – and when that happens, the news is sure to spread fast.
Expect to hear some big things from ETK very soon.