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Inside Dentistry
September 2022
Volume 18, Issue 9

Sound Advice From a Digital Newcomer

Christina Pruitt, DDS, on exocad’s DentalCAD® software

My interest in digital tools began while working at a high-end cosmetic practice in Omaha, Nebraska. We were doing a lot of wax-ups and outsourcing them. I saw how much it cost, what was involved, and how much time it took. However, once I realized that I could quickly and inexpensively design wax-ups myself with exocad's DentalCAD®, I really took to using the software.

Now, as a new practice owner, I primarily use DentalCAD for my comprehensive cosmetic cases. It's my digital design and wax-up tool. I know that it can do so much more, but I'm so busy with everything that new practice ownership involves. I'd like to start designing flippers and printing shell temporaries too. I also have the exocad Model Creator module, which I use exclusively to make my models for 3D printing.

One piece of advice that I offer to those who are starting out in digital dentistry is to be patient. You begin doing your own digital designs to save time, so you assume that everything will be immediately simpler and faster because you're not sitting in front of a wax-up for hours. However, that's not always the case at first. The learning curve is different for everyone, so I think that new users should invest in educating themselves. Although some people can sit down at a computer and learn everything that they need from YouTube videos and online forums, for me, it was best to sit in a class with people who knew how to do everything and to have them show me and answer my questions.

Regarding treatment acceptance, there's a lot of value in being able to show patients their digital designs, which is totally different than showing them a wax-up. The first case that I prepared during an exocad course was accepted by the patient immediately. It was a quite extensive comprehensive cosmetic case. Had I not been able to show her what the restoration would look like using her own face with exocad's digital design program Smile Creator, I think her response may have been very different. At the time, I thought, "Wow, I have only been doing this for 2 days, and it has already resulted in a very big ‘yes' from one of my patients. She's happy, I'm happy—everybody's happy. What do people do who don't have this?"

Another piece of advice that I offer clinicians is to not let expense be an obstacle to their growth and development. There are significant costs to anything that you implement in the digital space, but if you're getting acceptance on big treatments and turning cases around, software and devices pay for themselves rather quickly. DentalCAD has proved to be an invaluable tool for my practice.

Key Takeaways

1. Digital wax-ups can be designed quickly and inexpensively with DentalCAD

2. Showing patients their designs can increase case acceptance, resulting in a quick return on your digital dentistry investment

3. DentalCAD is a robust software platform that enables the design of models, provisional restorations, final restorations, appliances, and more

4. The open architecture offers flexibility while the powerful tools improve productivity by speedily processing large volumes of data

Christina Pruitt, DDS
Accreditation Candidate
American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
Private Practice
Omaha, Nebraska

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