Advantages of the digitalized work process in dental medicine
Talks about digitalization of processes in all spheres of life are a hot topic. n the last year and a half with the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, these conversations have already taken on a real impact on the lives of each of us. This largely applies to medicine, and dentistry in particular.
Every digitalization undoubtedly has its benefits, but only a fully integrated and a fully digitalized workflow can bring all these benefits to both dental professionals and their patients.
Let’s start by defining “What is digital dentistry?”.
Digital dentistry can be defined as the broad scope of any dental technology or device, that incorporates digital or computer-controlled components. This relatively broad definition includes both known CAD/CAM systems (computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing), and the even lesser-known 3D printing or laser sintering.
If we have to point out the main areas in which digital dentistry manifests itself, we could systematize the in the following areas:
- CAD/CAM software and intraoral scan
- Diagnosis of caries
- Computer-aided implantology – including design and production of surgical guides
- Digital radiography – intraoral and extraoral, including conical-beam computed tomography (CBCT)
- Occlusal and TMJ analysis and diagnostics
- Digital photography – intraoral and extraoral, as well as 3D extraoral scan
- Electronic medical records of patients, as well as educating patients about the nature of digital dentistry
Of course, there are many more aspects of digital dentistry, but for us it is more important to see the relationship between them in the work process and what are their advantages in the daily activities.
In order to do this systematically, let’s present it in a very general way, based on the systems theory:
The purpose of the digital dental work process is to obtain digital information at all steps, which demonstrates both the reasons for the diagnosis and all the steps taken in treatment and, of course, to digitally document and present the final result of treatment.
If we have to demonstrate this with out clinic, then in each of the steps this is achieved through the technique we have, the processes that we follow and the protocols that we follow in our work.
Let’s start with the input. With us, it is collected not only by physical examination, but also by:
The input is extremely important, because she gives the opportunity to make a correct diagnosis. Without the right diagnosis, there can be no right treatment!
This helps us to properly plan the work and last but not least, to show the patient the reasons for this treatment and what will be its end result by visualizing in the digital design of the smile (DSM-digital smile design), visualizing the treatment with aligners and etc.
In our digital dental workflow for processing, we use the following tools:
The use of a microscope in the world practice, especially in endodontics and surgery, is not considered a novelty, but rather an everyday and normal necessity. Practically the work without a microscope is accepted, as we would say in Bulgaria “eye work”. Because eye can not see what is visible through 26-fold magnification of the image. What is new about the microscope and the need for digital dental work, is the ability to directly digitally storage of the image (via photo or video) in the patient file and its visualization immediately in Full HD image via Wi-Fi on a real-time TV monitor. Our microscope also has these capabilities.
The advantages of working with CAD/CAM systems are numerous and need a separate article on our website. Importantly, however, is should be said that every two out of three patients wish to visit a new dentist in order to receive CAD/CAM restorations. The main advantages of working with CAD/CAM software are:
- Studies show that restorations made with CAD/CAM technology are much stronger than analog ones and fractures are much smaller
- The restorations fit much better in the patient’s mouth. This means that the restorations are of higher quality and last longer.
- When using CAD/CAM software, the dentist has the ability to see the entire mouth in three dimensions, thus being able to plan the restorations needed for the patient, in his office on his computer, rather than the analog mode of work to wait for the work of an external laboratory and the advantages such as time and accuracy for the patient are huge.
- With the help of CAD/CAM software and through its precision, the work can be planned and performed down to the micron, which allows instead of, as usual for two or three weeks, recoveries to take place in a day at a single patient visit (same day dentistry).
- Another huge advantage of working with CAD/CAM software is the objective quality control over the doctor’s activity by the software itself. Usually in dental analog practice the quality control is exercised by either the dentist or the dental technician, but he is never completely objective and independent and in case of an error in the work process, often has to repeat the whole process from the beginning. When working with CAD/CAM software even in design of the crown, the software shows in red both the filing errors for the crown and the impossibility of a correct design that would create a problem for the patient. This allows the patient to be confident and sure in the work of his dentist.
- CAD/CAM technology makes it possible to make an individual tooth design – one that the patient liked, because the beauty is an individual understanding for each person and thus patient satisfaction is greatly increased. Among other things, because scanning is digital, it is not necessary to use standard spoons for prints and materials.
And finally comes the final part of the digital working process, of particular importance for the patient – the result.
The outcome must be distinguished on several levels:
- Satisfaction of the patient’s requirements – through digital dental technology there is no discrepancy in the patient’s expectations and the end result, because the patient can compare the end result in the mirror with the digital model presented in the beginning.
- The outcome is also stored digitally and can be re-used if necessary, for example for comparisons in the follow-up treatments or follow-up in time results.
- The third result is the possibility to give a guarantee, for example in case of a broken crown, for her instant recovery, because the crown is stored on a digital carriage in STL file and can be printed immediately and without new scans within…37 minutes.
- Documentation of the whole treatment process – not only like a treatment plan and performed manipulations, but also with photos and video material for the overall treatment (however limited in Bulgaria) for providing evidence to health insurance companies to reimburse the cost of treatment.
It is in the result that the exceptional benefit of the fully digitalized work process in dental medicine lies. And the outcome is much faster, much better, much better documented and, of course, much more predictable dental treatment.
So for us to be digital is not just a medal to wear on our lapels, but daily work with the latest technologies to save time and money for our patients.
“Vasil Drumev” str.
“Vasil Drumev” str.