Technology, Choose Wisely
Technology has proliferated so rapidly and affects so much of how we live each and every day that it is no wonder digital tools have presented as a significant catalyst in our dental laboratories. These tools have unlocked possibilities for new treatment options to benefit our clinicians and the dental patients we all serve. I am a firm believer that technology is at its best when it enhances our progress and helps to elevate our abilities more quickly than was previously possible. Ample choices are available on the market, and as a result, making the finest choices in technology can propel a dental laboratory into a new arena; technology has great potential to make a process used today meaningfully more efficient than in the past.
We must choose wisely, though. A motto I use to help facilitate better choices (as they pertain to technology) is, "It is not what technology does to us; it is what we do to technology. Get smart with technology, choose wisely, and use it in a way that benefits both you and those around you." This means that the technology you engage with for your laboratory should make the process better and easier, which will affect—for the better—first and foremost our patients and their clinicians, but also our laboratory technologists and staff, and ultimately our dental laboratory businesses.
IDT's 2021 Tech Issue dives into truly cutting-edge technology, as well as forward perspectives and progressive thinking from industry experts on what may potentially be coming down the pike. Artificial intelligence is among today's hottest topics, and the concept is garnering much excitement and focus. Correspondingly and interrelated, software and automation provide for great opportunities to not only advance many of the dental prosthetic fabrication functions, but also create efficiencies and act as a multiplier of unique talent and dental know-how created from years of experience, which I like to call dental intelligence. By the same token, we have seen a large number of new and innovative materials, specifically in the additive manufacturing arena, that behave in ways we are only recognizing now, and they look to be very promising as well.
So now, I ask you: How does technology assimilate into your daily laboratory practice? Are you truly harnessing the incredible powers of technology to attain outcomes you could have never imagined before? And how are you using technology in a way that benefits both you and those around you? My sincerest hope is that wherever those answers may lie, for you and your laboratory, you will find greater clarity and perspective on technology within the pages of this Tech Issue—and the pages of IDT every month—so that you can choose wisely and benefit greatly from all that technology has to offer.
Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT