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CAD/CAM Milling: What’s in Your Lab?


Even if you’re regularly milling restorations in your practice, you’re probably still sending some stuff to your lab. And, since you’re a CAD/CAM believer, most likely your lab is, too. So, what kind of milling unit is your lab using? In other words, does it have the type of mill that will accommodate your preferred materials? Does it have a wet mill or a dry mill? Or does it have a mill that does both? Here’s a quick rundown on the differences.


Wet Mill

These materials are typically wet milled (though some also can be dry milled):

  • Zirconia
  • PMMA
  • Glass ceramic (lithium disilicate)
  • Feldspathic porcelain
  • Composite resin
  • Titanium
  • Cobalt chromium

Wet mills have a cooling tank and filter that typically have to be changed and cleaned every week.


Dry mills

These materials are typically dry milled (though some also can be wet milled):

  • Zirconia
  • Wax
  • PMMA
  • Cobalt chromium (sometimes)

Material particles left behind during milling are removed with pressurized air and a vacuum, but the units still need to be occasionally cleaned.


Universal mills

These machines can do both—wet and dry milling—depending on the material and indication (this will be different depending on the specific unit). Some of these mills require a change in the setup of the machine when switching from one type of milling to the other, but others don’t, which streamlines the lab’s workflow.

Knowing what kind of equipment your lab is using is important. It makes a difference in what you send out and what you keep in-house. And you want to know that your lab has invested in equipment that meets your needs and your patient’s.


You can learn about a lot of the lab milling units on the market at And don’t hesitate to share that information with your lab partner. They’ll thank you later.

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