Expanding the CAD/CAM Workflow With Planmeca Emerald™ Intraoral Scanner
Not content with approaching the practice of dentistry like business as usual, Don Murry III, DMD, is "all in" on CAD/CAM technology at his family's multi-location practice in Richmond, Virginia. Murry's father, Donald Murry Jr., DDS, started the business some 30 years ago and with hard work and dedication developed it into a bustling, PPO insurance-based practice. The younger Murry, a 2010 graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, was intent on the practice "cracking open the door" to CAD/CAM. Since it has, things have begun to flourish, he says. "Lab costs are down, patients are happier, there are no temporaries to make, and production is up."
A key component of any CAD/CAM workflow is the intraoral scanner, which Murry says must provide ease of use, clear images, and patient comfort. The Planmeca Emerald™ Next-Gen Intraoral Scanner, he insists, provides that and more. According to Murry, the scanner is fast and allows for various workflows. "It doesn't tie you to just one set of procedures such as only orthodontic scans or only single-tooth dentistry. The Planmeca Emerald has opened up many possibilities," he raves.
The scanner is, in Murry's words, "more than capable" of cross-arch stable scanning, palatal scanning for removable appliances, and articulating full-arch bites for nightguards and sleep appliances. Another huge asset is its transportability. "It's about the size of an intraoral camera wand; you plug it in to a workstation, scan, unplug the USB, and take it to the next operatory. Ease of transport is a major driving force in its efficiency," he explains.
Built on an open platform system, the Planmeca Emerald scanner can integrate with other systems and eases the laboratory collaboration process. "Planmeca has a complete workflow within its software for anything we need in our daily practice," Murry says. "For example, the surgical guide module connects the CAD scanning to the DICOM cone-beam data; orthodontic software allows for diagnosing, planning, and creating aligners and bracketing trays; implant abutment software allows for creating custom implant restorations; occlusal orthotics can be done; and so on. We can also transfer our scans to other CAD programs to extend the possibilities of the system."
The ergonomically designed Planmeca Emerald comes with autoclavable seamless scanner tips to prevent cross-infection while encouraging continuous scanning. The scanner's multi-color laser-based system produces images with a vibrant color palette for realistic digital impressions that allow dentists to distinguish between hard and soft tissue.
Murry states that his team prides itself on being able to provide a full spectrum of dental procedures to their patients within the office. Such procedures include straight-wire orthodontics, clear aligners, guided implant surgeries, cosmetic dentistry, full-mouth rehabilitation, sleep apnea appliances, and more.
"With a scanner of this quality and ease of use, I can trust and delegate duties to my team and know that we're capturing quality data to use with our fabrication systems in-house or at third-party labs," he notes. He also likes that Planmeca provides in-office training and has a 100-day accountability system in place to ensure customers are up to speed and comfortable with the technology.
Murry also sees many ancillary benefits to CAD/CAM dentistry. "From pre-CAD to now, our scheduling systems have completely changed. It has helped us to take our volume-based, ‘fill every chair all day every day' mentality to one of less patients and longer visits, doing more dentistry-productive dentistry-for each patient. Blocking longer visits has allowed me to spend quality time with patients and has helped transform the mentality of both my team and patients from ‘single-tooth' to ‘full-mouth' dentistry," he says.
"From taking intraoral scans on a 7-year-old for orthodontic expansion appliances, to a digital impression of a removable partial denture abutment tooth on an elderly patient to fit under the existing RPD, digital intraoral scanning with the Planmeca Emerald is a game changer for us," Murry concludes.
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