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Compendium
Nov/Dec 2018
Volume 39, Issue 10

Planmeca’s User-Friendly CAD/CAM Solutions Increase Efficiency, Improve Esthetics

As an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, Anthony Mennito, DMD, spends his days in general practice and much of his time teaching digital dentistry and esthetics "to the next generation of dentists," he says.

"I started doing CAD/CAM in 2010," Mennito remarks, noting that he has used Planmeca technology since the beginning. Because of what Mennito calls the increased "usability" of digital technology, he feels that CAD/CAM dentistry has made his practice more efficient.

His first experience with the Planmeca Emerald was in 2017, and he was impressed by the advancements in technology, including the increased scanning speed, improved tracking, and upgraded depth of the scan. "The Planmeca Emerald is able to capture the margins in deep interproximal areas. When this is paired with the new HD photo overlay feature, marking these margins is much simpler."

With the constant advances being made in digital technology, a scan that took him 30 minutes 8 years ago now takes 30 seconds, Mennito says. This allows him to schedule single-visit appointment restorations slotted for 90 minutes to 2 hours, freeing up both his and his patients' time. "Our patients love it, because there's no second appointment, no goopy impression materials, and they leave that day with a properly fitted, beautiful restoration," he asserts.

As a professor at a university known for its digital dentistry education, Mennito explains that Planmeca offers functions unique within the digital world. "While there are a number of great digital technologies, Planmeca Romexis® and PlanCAD® software programs boast user-friendly tools that help my students and me create beautiful anterior restorations," he affirms, adding that the new copy/mirror tool in PlanCAD allows for a simpler mirroring of a contralateral tooth. Additionally, the design tools give the user complete control over the shape of the emerging restoration.

The Planmeca Romexis, Smile Design feature, and PlanCAD software provide a powerful combination for planning anterior cases, Mennito suggests. "Smile Design allows clinicians to preview both the existing and optimal height-to-width ratios, test-drive tooth shapes, and morph suboptimal tooth shapes into more ideal shapes. This can be useful when planning cases with the patient, as it allows patients to weigh in on their desired tooth length and shape," he says. This template can then be entered into PlanCAD, ensuring that proper esthetic ratios are created during the design process.

"For larger cases," Mennito continues, "I design ‘additive wax-ups,' which can be exported and 3D printed to create a physical model. This is then used to create a putty matrix for transferring the wax-up shapes to the patient's mouth."

For patients, Mennito has observed, reconstructing their smile can be an emotional event, and he says they enjoy being able to sit with him and design the smile they want. "We work through different options together with the digital design, and this helps put their minds at ease," he states.

Being an educator, Mennito cannot stress enough the importance of proper training when learning the digital process. "I, like everyone else who purchases a Planmeca system, learned the fundamentals of scanning, designing, and milling at the company's educational center in Dallas." Planmeca also sponsors various independent continuing education organizations that offer more in-depth training for practitioners looking to hone their skills and maximize their CAD/CAM system.

As an avid proponent of digital dental technology, Mennito says he is excited to see what the future holds and expects Planmeca to be at the forefront of development. "In the end, these technologies allow us to provide increased efficiency, better esthetics, and greater patient comfort," he concludes. "That's what it's all about.

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