Getting Started With Digital Dentistry

DIGITAL DENTISTRY BENEFITS & DIGITAL WORKFLOW

Written by Andrew Sedler, COO

Written by Andrew Sedler, COO

Written by Andrew Sedler, COO

Slider

Digital dentistry has significantly changed the dental industry over the last 30 years. Digital processes are involved in various areas of dentistry, including implants, orthodontics, restorative, and prosthetics. Each of these areas in dentistry has experienced faster turnarounds, improved accuracy, as well as the introduction of innovative materials for overall higher outputs. Digital dentistry has a far-reaching impact on many areas of dentistry, including the fabrication of veneers, crowns, partial dentures, implant abutments, inlays, and onlays.

Digital Workflow Benefits
BrighterWay Institute - Digital Implantology 1

Several benefits are associated with implementing digital technology. These benefits occur both in the dental office as well as the dental laboratory. This technology dramatically reduces the time and human resources needed in the fabrication of custom prostheses. In addition, there is a reduction in the number of materials used in processes such as impression taking and the ability to electronically transmit information rather than having to transport by shipping.

Digital dentistry not only saves time and is cost-effective, but also has a substantial positive environmental impact. Perhaps one of the most important factors is the improved quality of the final product.

Digital Workflow Success Guides
Digital Impressions
ProgaMill PM7 powerfull addition to Burbank Dental Lab

From the dental practice perspective, digital impression taking is an excellent starting point to implement a digital workflow. Digitizing in the dental office will save time, improve communication with the dental lab, and improve quality. The ability to scan and then show the patient directly any areas of concern and discuss treatment options utilizing a 3D digital image helps improve patient engagement and, ultimately, patient acceptance. With some digital impression systems, digital smile design can be presented, which will give the patient a visual of what possible treatment options will look like with their smile. Digital workflows offer patients a more complete diagnostic experience.

This digital workflow process begins with a digital 3D intraoral scan. The scanning process can usually be completed quickly so that time can be spent discussing with the patient and starting the visualization process. However, the same principals that affect the accuracy of a chemical impression also affect the accuracy of a digital impression. It is essential to do the following to ensure an accurate scan:

  • Digital Workflow: Chair time saved by quicker impression
    The margins must be clear; this is accomplished by maintaining moisture and soft tissue. If the margin is subgingival, retract the tissue to expose the margin.
  • Digital workflow - enhanced image
    The scan process must be done slowly to capture accurate data.
  • Digital Workflow - Accuracy of the restoration shortens seat time
    Avoid missing gingiva by rotating the scanner to capture 4-5 mm of the patient's gingiva.

The completed scan can then be sent to the lab and viewed in real-time. This real-time view will allow a clinician who is new to the scanning process to share the files and receive feedback regarding the accuracy of the scans. It also provides a great communication tool should the case need to be discussed or treatment planned.

The benefits of digital impressions are significant. They improve communication with the dental lab, reducing overhead, increasing output, saving time, and improving the accuracy of dental restorations. One of the main advantages of intraoral scanning has to do with overall patient satisfaction. Dental patients perceive dental offices with new technology as being more advanced. Overall, patients generally do not like the process of taking a traditional impression, and the digital impression provides a significantly improved situation.

The Digital Dentistry Workflow
Getting Started - Digital Dentistry

Digital dentistry plays a role in every dental specialty. Whether it is for general dentistry, prosthodontics, or implantology, the treatments and designing will be different, but each specialty follows the same workflow.

Scan

Similar to traditional workflows, the digital workflow starts with the capture of the patient’s dentition. Scans can be captured digitally using a 3D intraoral scanner in the dental office. Digital scans provide accurate and fast impressions. Another way to digitize an impression is through the use of desktop scanners that can either scan traditional impressions or models.

Design

The data collected from the scanning process is imported into computer-aided design software for planning and designing restorations or modeling. During this phase, the designer can design a virtual prosthesis using very similar steps as found in traditional methods. Digital designing of dental restorations is faster, easier, and more accurate to create.

Manufacture

The data from the scan, coupled with the designing of the restorations, move the workflow to the manufacturing phase. Here the gathered data can be sent to a 3D printer or directly to the milling process. A variety of outputs is possible, including:

The digital workflow model provides speed, is cost-effective, more efficient, and improves accuracy.

 

Implementing Digital Workflows
Implant Success Guide by Burbank Dental Lab

At  Burbank Dental Lab, we have invested heavily in digital dentistry. Early on, we saw the vast benefits that technology would provide to a dental lab as well as to the dental office. To begin going digital, we recommend the following:

  • Determine what application to implement to make the most significant impact on your practice. Digital impression taking is a great start.

  • Understand the specific workflow for the technology you wish to implement. In other words, make sure you understand the steps that will be involved throughout the process.

  • Start slow. Implement the new workflow for a few weeks. Doing this will provide time to thoroughly learn the process and overcome any issues that may come up. There is going to be a learning curve. Once comfortable, the workflow can be fully implemented.

Essentially, digital dentistry can be included within the processes of a dental practice in small steps. This allows the clinician to overcome the learning curve, analyze the return on investment, and then scale up.

There is no question that digital dentistry is being adopted by dental practices and is becoming the norm in dentistry. Technology is improving accuracy, turnaround times, communication, and patient experiences.

Burbank Dental Lab is available to help answer your questions regarding getting started in digital dentistry.  Call us or just click the blue Chat icon in the bottom right corner of this page.

Did you like this article?

Let us know by giving us a clap!

Top 10 Most Clapped Articles

Resource Center

Products

Fabrication
of the future
is here!

Burbank Dental Lab has three new state-of-the-art Carbon M2 printers. We are very excited about the options that these cutting-edge printers will allow us to offer our dental clients. Here are some of the advantages that these printers will begin to deliver to you and your dental practice.

Our New
State-Of-The-Art
3d Printers

Carbon offers a highly dependable 3D manufacturing solution for many dental applications with its breakthrough Digital Light Synthesis™ technology, enabled by a wide range of dental materials.

Fabrication
of the future
is here!

Burbank Dental Lab has three new state-of-the-art Carbon M2 printers. We are very excited about the options that these cutting-edge printers will allow us to offer our dental clients. Here are some of the advantages that these printers will begin to deliver to you and your dental practice.

Our New
State-Of-The-Art
3d Printers

Carbon offers a highly dependable 3D manufacturing solution for many dental applications with its breakthrough Digital Light Synthesis™ technology, enabled by a wide range of dental materials.

Slider