Your Guide to New Technology
More and more dentists are "going digital," adopting part or all of a digital workflow into their practices and acquiring the latest technology, such as digital scanners and milling machines, to do so. Being aware of this trend and seeing all of the exciting new technology at shows may leave you feeling like you need to do the same.
In many ways, the advantages of technology begin with the basics. If I have a solid electric handpiece, good illumination, and a well-made bur, I can be productive. Although that may sound like a very traditional viewpoint, it conveys an important lesson about modern technology: Your practice should be driving your choice of technology, not the other way around.
I was an early adopter of chairside milling technology. In 1989, I received what I was told was the sixth CEREC 1 to be delivered to a practice in the United States. It was basically just a wheel (ie, no burs) that ground out the inlays and onlays. Although milling has come a long way since then, I haven't continued with the technology because, among other factors, now that I work with only one assistant, milling restorations is less conducive to the efficiency of my workflow. The integration of new technology must enhance your workflow, but all too often, well-intentioned dentists acquire technology that disrupts their workflow and ultimately ends up collecting dust in the back of the office.
Throughout the years, there have been many technological advancements that have undeniably improved dentistry, but technology itself is not a panacea. To be successful, each device must be carefully considered and implemented with a plan. Adopting a new piece of technology isn't a simple, static purchase decision; it's a dynamic one that not only requires a careful assessment of your finances, but also your current and desired workflow, the size and capabilities of your team, the physical layout of your office space, your lab partnerships, and device-specific factors, such as special features and the availability of education and support. It can be overwhelming. So when you're considering if a particular technology is right for your workflow and your practice, where do you begin?
That's where Inside Dentistry's July 2018 Special Technology Issue comes in. Our team has done the work to help you get started by compiling information about the latest devices across five major categories of technology. These charts are intended to help you further refine your decisions before seeking product information from the manufacturers. Personally, I'm interested in acquiring a digital scanner and possibly a 3D printer so I can print my own models. I'm proud to say that this year's Special Technology Issue is packed with content to help the everyday practice understand the nuances of both integration and the use of digital dental technologies. We hope you find it to be a valuable resource.
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa