Expanding Possibilities Through Digital Dentistry
This thematic issue focuses on the digital workflow, highlighting technology that is enabling clinicians to expand restorative possibilities for improved patient care. Beginning with the intraoral scan, the digital workflow gives practitioners better control over the treatment they are providing-treatment that is highly accurate, able to be accomplished in less time than in the past, and which yields better patient outcomes.
The digital techniques described in this issue are increasingly supplanting traditional methods of performing dental procedures, from treatment planning, to implant placement, to the final restoration. In our first CE article in this issue, the authors describe new workflows in digital dentistry for edentulous patients. The article illustrates how, whether fabricating new or replacing existing dentures, digital dentistry offers a shorter turnaround time than conventional procedures. Our other CE offers a thorough review of intraoral scanners. No longer a thing of the future, intraoral scanning is making dental procedures more efficient and predictable. This review details eight key criteria clinicians should evaluate when choosing a scanner for their practice.
An important element of the digital workflow is digital smile design, a technical tool used to design and enhance a patient's smile digitally, allowing the smile to be visualized before the treatment actually begins. Several articles in this issue describe the use of this method, including a clinical technique review in which the authors present concepts of a facially driven interdisciplinary digital workflow that facilitates the restorative-orthodontic integration through the combined use of digital smile design and orthodontic aligners. Also, a case report illustrates interdisciplinary esthetic treatment with current digital tools, including digital smile design, while emphasizing the importance of high magnification for maximum precision and minimally invasive treatment.
Another case report describes the restoration of congenitally missing maxillary lateral incisors utilizing natural tooth morphology libraries. Such digital planning tools aid greatly in achieving high-end esthetics with monolithic CAD/CAM restorations. Our Special Report in this issue discusses chairside digital dentistry, providing an overview of current technologies.
Clearly, digital dentistry and workflows are not only here to stay, but are opening up new possibilities for dental treatment, from scanning to restoration fabrication, to everything in between. Please enjoy this special issue of Compendium!
Markus B. Blatz, DMD, PhD