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Can Digital Dentistry Help in the Practice?

January 23, 2023

The short answer is yes, it most definitely can. Digital dentistry provides any dental practitioner with many advanced options that yield results that would be impossible or quite difficult to achieve with traditional methods.

Please read on as we expand on how digital dentistry can help in the dental practice and what are the key aspects where digital dentistry methods like intraoral scanners, digital X-rays, and similar advanced techniques have a substantial edge over traditional methods.

Digital Dentistry Methods Are More Efficient than Traditional Dentistry

Many of you are probably intimidated by implementing new technologies that seem futuristic, but it is not something to consider as an option, as it is a necessity. When we say it is a necessity, we mean it is the basis on which any dental practice can remain competitive in the ever-changing world.

Digital dentistry technologies are more efficient than traditional dentistry techniques; it is so because digital technologies are infinitely more precise, faster, and more comfortable for the dental patient as opposed to traditional methods.

Patient Comfort Is a Key Aspect

Before we delve further into the digital dentistry technologies that are now becoming a part of every reputable dental practice, we need to outline that the critical aspect where digital dental procedures rule over traditional methods is patient comfort. Many traditional dentistry methods use things that are uncomfortable for the patient.

For example, a traditional method for measuring dental implants uses impression putty. The dentist needs to squish putty between the patient’s teeth, wait for it to harden, carefully remove it without damage or distortion and create the dental implant based on the impression. The method is halfway effective, as the created implant often needs corrections precisely because the impression putty method is an imperfect measuring technique that is very uncomfortable for the patient.

Many other traditional dentistry techniques lack compared to digital dentistry techniques: traditional X-ray imaging is 4 times more radioactive than digital X-ray imaging; excessive gum bleeding is a severe problem in traditional dentistry and one that dental lasers significantly diminish; Diagnodent imaging can detect caries before it is visible with the naked eye; etc.

Common Digital Dentistry Methods

Here is an outline of the digital dentistry methods used in modern dental practice; these are technologies that are used in-office and help the dentist with improved diagnosing of dental problems and precision restorations:

  • Digital X-ray: a digital radiographic scanner that captures dental images using X-ray technology but displays the images on a computer screen. The digital X-ray is a safer imaging technique than a traditional film X-ray, as it reduces radiation exposure. This digital technology allows for magnifying the images for better viewing and accuracy.
  • Diagnodent: a Diagnodent is a tool that is used for the early detection of cavities. It uses sound pulses (similar to sonar) to detect possible caries spots in the early stages, thus helping prevent further tooth decay.
  • Cone Beam CT: a computerized tomography method used in dentistry to provide a 3D image of the maxillofacial anatomy. It is mainly used by oral surgeons and periodontists when planning the placing of dental implants, as it helps prevent any unexpected issues and allows for better implant placement.
  • Dental Laser: dental lasers are digital dentistry tools that help gum healing, especially in gingival procedures like recontouring or periodontal therapy.
  • TekScan (T-Scan): an ultra-thin digital sensor used to measure and evaluate a patient’s bite relationships digitally.
  • Intraoral scanner: also called an intraoral camera, this digital device provides a detailed image of the teeth and surrounding structure in the mouth. The images or scans provided by the intraoral scanners provide the dentist with all the necessary details that allow for a more precise overview of the condition of the patient’s teeth, possible defects, and possible treatment. Think of it as a digital map with a digital impression of the teeth’ anatomy and a digital color map with accurate color analysis. Another key benefit of using an intraoral scanner is the information on possible future issues, places that need to be monitored, and dental hygiene practices that help keep better oral hygiene.
  • CAD/CAM: Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacture are complementary digital techniques that are used in many fields, including dentistry. These technologies allow dental restorations, like crowns, veneers, inlays, and more, to be created using computerized milling. These are used mainly in dental laboratories that create dental restorations based on the digital dental scans obtained via the intraoral scanner.

Key Benefits of Using Digital Dentist Methods

Technology has made so many advancements in all fields, and dentistry is not exempt. In fact, there are so many advanced digital technologies developed precisely for the dentist practice, and here are the key benefits that a dental practice reaps from adding these to their toolbox:

Better Diagnosis

Digital technologies in dentistry provide the dentist with more comprehensive findings on which they can base their diagnosis. Instead of relying on outdated diagnostic methods that are not all-inclusive, digital dentistry methods provide a more detailed view of the patient’s dental condition. In turn, this allows the dentist to “see” things they can’t see with other methods and give the patients a better fact-based diagnosis.

Enhanced Treatment Planning

The dentist gets improved treatment planning based on the fact-based diagnosis provided by digital dentistry methods. Such practice is very beneficial for the patients, as it reduces chair time, helps alleviate stress and dentist-related anxiety, and reduces dentist visits. Also, improved treatment planning increases the dental practice’s reputation and helps get new clients.

Precise Implants

Perhaps the primary advantage of using digital dentistry technologies in dental practice is creating precise implants. The digital dental scanning techniques allow precise measurements when creating implants, an otherwise complex technique requiring several consultations to create the perfectly fitting implant. The same goes for measuring clear aligners, mouth guards, crowns and bridges, retainers, and other prosthetics.

Digital Dental Technologies are the Future

Above, we have covered the key ways digital dentistry technologies can help you and your patients. If you don’t know where to start, we suggest you try our intraoral scanner and facilitate your dental implant workflow. Try Great provides you with a free intraoral scanner and additional help and education to get your dental practice, and you can learn more about our services here.

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