Riding the Wave of Sea Change
By now, dental providers are well aware of the sea change occurring in dentistry involving digital workflows, and, indeed, many are currently utilizing and benefiting from them in their practice. And why not. From digital radiography, to intraoral scanning, to 3D printing and more, advancements in technology are helping clinicians provide better diagnoses, improve treatment planning, and, ultimately, deliver optimal care to their patients.
In this year-end issue of Compendium, we highlight the digital workflow. Because digital technologies allow interconnectivity of all treatment information, it is easier to manage the dental workflow, communicate with all specialties, and more effectively engage patients in the treatment process.
One of our continuing education (CE) topics is digital smile design. This creative concept, which utilizes the integration of a variety of digital records, allows for detailed analysis of the patient's facial and dental characteristics. It enables clinicians to determine the design of dental restorations before actually implementing any procedures, helping to optimize outcomes and please patients.
CAD/CAM technologies have been at the heart of the digital dentistry revolution, both in the lab and dental practice. One result of CAD/CAM's prevalence, as noted in another CE article, is a rise in the use of esthetic, durable ceramic restorations. However, as the authors point out, not all CAD/CAM ceramic materials are the same, and different adhesive protocols are needed for different ceramics to obtain the best bonding outcomes. This article provides a "how to" for ceramic bonding.
Speaking of CAD/CAM, a case report presents the fabrication of maxillary and mandibular implant overdentures using CAD/CAM technology and 3D design software. Demonstrating a facially driven digital workflow, the article describes the clinical and laboratory steps involved in the production of milled, implant-retained overdentures using two different unsplinted attachments. Another article reports on a microscopically and digitally driven complete workflow for minimally invasive singe-implant treatment.
Finally, our Special Report discusses intraoral scanners and what practitioners should consider when either integrating a digital workflow into their practice or looking to improve their current one.
As we begin to turn the page on 2023, consider diving into digital dentistry in 2024 if your practice hasn't already, and start riding the wave of change that is engulfing our profession.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season and prosperous new year,
Markus B. Blatz, DMD, PhD