Not Your Father’s Dentistry
As you look around most dental offices today, it is easy to see the impact digital technologies are having on dentistry. The modern dental practice most certainly is not your father's dental practice. Clinicians today are utilizing an assortment of high-tech digital equipment that to many of our predecessors would have seemed "other worldly." Such technology is enabling precision solutions to be provided in ways unimaginable even just a few short years ago.
In this special thematic issue of Compendium that focuses on digital prosthodontics, leading clinicians and lab technicians share their knowledge and expertise in digital dentistry. While each clinical report has different particulars to offer readers, they all describe cutting-edge dental treatments that are executed in an efficient manner that is generally more comfortable and enjoyable for the patient. The protocols presented not only allow for better outcomes compared to methods used in the past, but also enable faster, more productive collaborations with other dental team members and consultations with patients. More than just being exciting and innovative, digital technologies are capable of improving quality of care through precise diagnosis and highly accurate restorations.
Our first continuing education (CE) article describes how digital technologies enhance telescopic and conical clinical case workflows. These types of restorations have long been based on analog techniques, but the author demonstrates the integration of digital technologies, including intraoral scanning and photogrammetry, to improve production. In our second CE article, a digital full-mouth reconstruction is depicted, including steps ranging from diagnostics to production of final zirconia restorations.
Various case reports also exhibit the innovative use of digital technologies, including one that describes a combination analog-digital method that utilizes the patient's existing removable prosthesis to guide fabrication of a fixed full-arch restoration using a novel stud-style abutment system. Other clinical reports discuss digital smile design and fabrication of CAD/CAM restorations in a complex esthetic case, as well as a case involving digital implant therapy. Our Special Report covers key developments in state-of-the-art materials and workflows.
As we draw to the close of one year and begin the journey into the new, it seems worthwhile to reflect that while modern dental practice is much different than our fathers', the technologic advantages documented in this issue are sure to be swept under in their own time by the ocean of innovation. We are truly only setting sail on our digital odyssey…
With all best wishes for safe, healthy, happy holidays and a prosperous new year,
Markus B. Blatz, DMD, PhD
Alexander Wünsche, CDT, ZT