Before you choose which techniques to integrate, Dr. Paul L. Child, Jr., DMD, CDT, CEO CR Foundation, recommends evaluating if the techniques you choose will improve efficiency, improve accuracy over current methods and offer a high level of predictable outcomes. To determine which areas of digital dentistry to incorporate, ask yourself these four questions:
- What is your level of interest?
- Will the new technology add new excitement, drive and happiness in your practice?
- Can you obtain a moderate to high return on investment?
- Are you willing to dedicate the time and effort to learn the new technology and continue advancing?
Digital Dentistry Practices
The majority of U.S. dental practices have incorporated computers. This is the first step into digital dentistry, as software advancements adapted from other industries continually make dentistry more advanced. In addition to using the computers to aid in services, they can also be used for patient education. Instead of drawing a diagram or merely describing a procedure, you can use a tablet to explain treatment options. These will provide patients with a much better visual representation of the procedure they will receive.
Imagine being able to create a finished inlay within an hour or two. The process of traditional restoration can take weeks as you wait for the lab to send the prosthesis; however, with a CAD/CAM system, you can create the prosthesis in house, in turn skipping the lengthy process and saving you time. You’ll be able to have more control over the entire process, including the outcome of the procedure.
Lasers are used in about every field of dentistry because they are now one of the most affordable options. They are not only used in general practice but also surgery, endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics.
Cone Beam-Computed Tomography
Constructing three-dimensional images of teeth, the oral and maxillofacial regions, and ears, noses and throats of patients provides a fast, non-invasive method to answer questions about how to treat a patient. Dentists can more easily evaluate abnormal teeth, cavities, root canals, dental trauma and more with this X-ray imaging.
One of the main benefits of digital radiography is that patients are exposed to less radiation, but dentists will also see enhanced images and lower operational costs. While digital radiography equipment is expensive, the benefits you will experience far outweigh the limitations.