Where Can Technology Take Us?
There is no doubt that technology now dominates the methods we use to fabricate restorative solutions in our profession. And with many more new and exciting technological advances on the horizon, the choice of which machine, software, or material best fits our business model is critical. Certainly technology can catapult our efficiency and productivity. But how are we to decide given the endless options and indications? Selecting wisely will give us the ability to use technology in a way that benefits both us and those around us by being able to fabricate complex restorative solutions previously thought impossible. There are also new and innovative materials that will tremendously benefit not only us, the end users, but also the clients we serve and ultimately the patients we help.
To fully grasp how significantly technology and its rapid adoption has impacted our lives, we need only look how far we have come as a society. Today, we each walk around with as much or more computing power in our smartphones than NASA utilized when sending a man to the moon in 1969. All our business and entertainment needs, schedules, reservations, car rides, communications, finance, and so much more can all be accomplished today from the palm of our hands. Technology truly propels society to do more and accomplish more than we've ever been able to do before.
But we as humans must be cautious not to be overwhelmed and ensure that we use technology in a way that is beneficial to us all. That can only be accomplished by engaging the human abilities of mindfulness, creativity, and social awareness. Technology is a powerful tool, but we must be the drivers of these tools and not the other way around. We can accomplish great feats, but not without engaging our human intelligence to push technology further, innovate more, and find solutions to the challenges we face today and every day.
The same holds true for dental laboratory technology. The technology we immerse ourselves in is robust and getting better and better each day. However, it is how we use technology to find solutions to our current and existing challenges that will significantly impact our lives and our businesses.
These principles are the driving forces behind this year's revamped Tech Issue. We sought out experts in each technological discipline to share their excitement and vision of current and emerging technologies in the subtractive, additive, scanning, and software arenas. The end goal is to create a truly technology-focused issue that provides all the pertinent information needed to navigate today's high-tech market. IDT aims to keep the human element, as well, to guide laboratory professionals on best uses and relevant information to help all of us make important decisions for our respective businesses, employees, clients, and ultimately for our patients.
We sincerely hope you enjoy this issue and that it helps you on your journey through this exciting and constantly changing technological landscape.
Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT