During the past several years, digital technology has taken hold of dentistry in ways that many of us never could have imagined. As we look back, the intraoral scanner, a once revolutionary device developed to acquire impressions for the delivery of single-unit indirect restorations, has evolved into an entire ecosystem that can benefit clinical practice. Similar to today's handheld smart devices that were once just mobile phones, dental technologies have become multifunctional, increasing in compatibility and reaching into many different areas of practice.
One of the biggest mistakes that clinicians make when incorporating new technology into their practices and workflows is failing to fully define a starting point. This starting point will be different in each practice, and it is imperative to research the benefits of the various advancements available to inform the goals of implementation. In order to properly integrate technology, it must be done using a systematic, methodical, and understood approach. First, the appropriate systems need to be in place prior to integration so that the technology can be utilized in a way that both improves care and realizes a return on the investment. Second, the integration should be methodical so that the technology is introduced in a manner that compliments the clinical practice and the services provided. And finally, the integration must be understood. A firm understanding of "why" and "how" the technology is going to benefit clinical practice by both the practitioner and the team members of the practice is essential to realizing those benefits. If this approach is followed, success is bound to prevail.
Innovative technology can be incorporated into every single aspect of clinical practice—from engagement to diagnosis, throughout treatment, and circling back to patient retention. For Inside Dentistry's 2021 technology issue, we've brought together articles that discuss and evaluate uses of technology affecting all facets of the profession. We hope this issue will provide you with insights to inform your decisions regarding the areas in which your practice and patient population could be better served by technology.
Chad C. Duplantis, DDS
Guest Editor, Inside Dentistry
Academy of General Dentistry
Private Practice • Fort Worth, Texas
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Private Practice • Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa • Iowa City, Iowa