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Increasing importance of digital dentistry

The Increasing Importance of Digital Workflows

With digital workflows, we can quickly get diagnostic information and disperse that information to our entire team quickly.

We live in an increasingly digital world. For years we’ve shifted our mail, communication, shopping, scheduling, photography, etc. onto digital devices. In the past few months, that process has only accelerated! However, we dentists still make our living completing an analog task with real, live patients.

This analog approach can become problematic when it comes to planning for the future. How many of us take the time (or even remember how) to wax up a set of veneers? How about grinding a cast down where a non-restorable tooth is, estimating the tissue change after extraction and waxing up a tooth to an ideal position? Think about all the time and human error that occurs every time we undertake such tasks. This is the old, inefficient and inaccurate way of doing things. Don’t get me wrong, a great wax up is fantastic for treatment planning and selling a plan. But what if we didn’t have to take the impression, send it to a lab tech, wait 2 weeks and pay hundreds of dollars just to find out if the patient is interested in the plan you have in your head?

With digital workflows, we can quickly get diagnostic information and disperse that information to our entire team quickly. We can plan for replacing a tooth, placing a few veneers, doing a quadrant of crown lengthening or conducting a full mouth rehab. As a general dentist, I’m able to create a restorative treatment plan that can drive the surgical plan, as opposed to hoping that my surgeon does what I want them to do. As a surgeon, you can set up a case for success based on what the restoring dentist is looking for, instead of having to guess what they want. As a patient, you can see this process as a very customized process that is built specifically for you, instead of a list of steps that ends with a generic result.

These digital techniques don’t negate the need for good hand skills. Actually, I think that they put more pressure on our ability to deliver with our hands what we see in our heads by giving us specific feedback. So don’t worry, analog isn’t going anywhere, but neither is digital dentistry!

Find out how digital tools help us plan our case with a better understanding of the potential surgical and restorative complications in the upcoming course, Digital Implant Dentistry: From Exam to Restoration. With more efficient communication and better data, we can mitigate risk for both the surgeon and restorative dentist. Long term success and predictability is greatly improved with digital treatment planning focused on the final prosthetics. Click here for more information and registration.