Smart technology exists everywhere: In our kitchens, living rooms, hospital surgery suites, and even our car repair shops.
So, why not in our dental offices and labs?
The future of technology in dentistry is a hot topic at every local, national, and international dental meeting. Whether it’s a continuing education course in Little Rock, the American Dental Education Association symposium in Chicago, or the International Dental Show in Cologne–technology for dentistry is the talk of the town.
Digital Technology in Dentistry
Digital advancements in the dental industry are growing at a phenomenal rate.
Remember when intra-oral cameras first arrived on the market? Soon, those might be found in your patient’s smart toothbrush, capturing images of the teeth that the patient can send to your office for review.
Is making dentures still your least favorite service? Or, have you given up on trying to make patients happy with full dentures?
Innovations in 3D printing of precision-made dentures may not be too far off, reviving an important service to your patients and opening up a new revenue stream.
Also, virtual reality (VR) is not just for video games anymore. The potential for VR in dental schools for demonstrating treatment techniques will allow future dental students to practice on a virtual patient before touching that dreaded “live” one, addressing many of the ethical questions surrounding this issue.
Teledentistry presents another possibility for bringing digital services to people with disabilities, the elderly, and those living in rural areas with limited access to dentists. Not only can the dentist and patient talk to each other via video, but intraoral images can be captured to determine if the patient needs a face-to-face appointment. The teledentist can then contact a local clinician with notes and images to help facilitate treatment, when needed.
Technology in Dental Labs
Dental laboratories are at the forefront of this digital revolution.
Computer-Assisted Design/Computer-Assisted Manufacture (CAD/CAM) technology is already becoming common for labs and dental offices for digital impressions and manufacture of fixed crowns and bridges.
Materials such as zirconium oxide, lithium disilicate, and hybrid ceramics make the marriage of technology and dental lab artistry the perfect example of the advantages to embracing innovative systems in the dental lab.
The areas of fixed and removable prosthetics, digitally guided implant placement, and orthodontics present lab technicians with an opportunity to guide their dentist-clients forward in the use of digital innovations.
Bringing It All Together
Digital dentistry benefits all stakeholders in our industry: clinicians, patients, staff members, specialists, and lab technicians.
Clinicians will have more time to spend on complex diagnosis and treatment planning that requires their level of education and expertise. Patients will benefit from better preventive care, better access to dentists, and quicker turnaround times for prosthetic services.
Staff members in dental offices will have more opportunity for learning new technologies and expanding their scope of practice. Specialists can rely on technology to ensure accurate placement of implants and implant-supported prosthetics, digital treatment planning for complex orthodontic cases, and continued improvement in three-dimensional imaging for endodontics, bone grafting, and other highly sensitive procedures.
Lab technicians who stay abreast of recent technologies and systems will be sought by dentists to develop mutually trusting and beneficial relationships to help bring the highest quality dental services to patients.
At First Choice Dental Lab®, we stay ahead of dental technology trends, from the equipment we use to what we recommend for our customers. When you need a lab, make sure to choose one that makes technology its first choice.
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We’re more than just a dental lab – we’re here to help you give people a reason to smile!