Digital dentistry challenges us to reconsider the efficiency and quality of our analog protocols. As technological advancements increase more and more rapidly, keeping up becomes less about adapting to every new trend and more about deciding what works best for your individual practice.
Recent technology has impacted everything from photography and radiography to scanning and implant dentistry. Most importantly, it’s made communication that much easier. In the office, that translates to better collaboration with referrals and the lab. When patients present with a need for complex treatment, the entire process can be faster and more predictable.
How Digital Dentistry Impacts Treatment Protocols
Digital is not inherently good. It’s simply an alternative that tends to be faster and, in many cases, more accurate. Adaptation is key, which is why it’s helpful to have open discussions with other clinicians and collaborators about how they use it.
One area where digital dentistry shines is in case presentation and communication of treatment outcomes. Patients respond positively to viewing the changes their teeth will go through after treatment. For example, in this case where Dr. Catalano used digital scanning for Invisalign outcome simulation. The patient could see ahead of time what their teeth would like after two years of treatment.
Similarly, on the dental laboratory side of things, digital dentistry is improving esthetics and efficiency. The question is though, when seeking out efficiency constantly, what’s the cost? Do we lose precision when we simply try out the latest and greatest without careful fine tuning?
These are all important considerations. Still, it’s impressive to see advances like scanning of implant models for the creation of a full bridge. The lab can manipulate digital images to give you an esthetically superior result.
What new technology do you use in your dental practice and why? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!