Open the door to the digital revolution…or get left behind

DoorsDan Burborough, marketing executive for Planmeca UK, explores the digital landscape in dentistry.

When I was a child I always imagined 2015 would be full of hover boards, we’d get around using teleportation and we’d be wearing our mobile phones, there would be cutting-edge medicines and the integration of all our gadgets and systems. Some of these dreams are now becoming a reality, both in our personal lives and dentistry.

Often termed ‘digital dentistry’ we now work in a world of high tech advancements. From digital patient records, websites and social media, to 3D imaging or CAD/CAM work, it’s clear to see how integrated into the everyday lives of dentists and patients that digitisation has become.

Embracing innovation

Those with a lot of experience in the industry will look back and notice how much it has changed.

Dentistry, when compared with some other industries, is not huge in terms of its external investment or prospective growth within the market. The result of this is often a slow commitment to the uptake of new technologies, such as air rotors over belt-driven handpieces, or the decades it took for implant dentistry to make its impact.

So, what’s first?

Implementation of computers throughout the practice is of course the first and most frequent adoption of digital dentistry and most practices have some kind of computerised system in place.

This technology has now become affordable, which allows a high return on investment.

Simple introductions such as patient management systems or platforms like automatic call-backs are easy to implement and e-solutions like social media, websites and newsletters open up new possibilities.

These first steps go a long way to the overall perception of the practice and the benefits to your customers. Quite simply, those who have not accepted this prerequisite for digital dentistry should do so now.

The next step

One of the most frequent adoptions of digital technology today is through digital imaging.

Digital imaging is a logical investment in a modern practice, with many practices having already made the leap.

The advantages of using digital imaging far outweigh the initial price outlay. Take some examples from our portfolio; our Promax 3D system offers lower radiation (ultra-low-dose – up to 70% in this case), substantial reduction in time, effortless storage and organisation, and improvements to the actual image for enhanced views.

Likewise, CBCT is quickly being implemented by many specialities and becoming the recommended standard for many procedures like implant placement and endodontics.

CBCT scanning has seen decreased costs, software with improved capabilities and the ability to automatically take measurements. When implemented properly, the expected return is far greater than any other form of digital dentistry.

CAD/CAM technology

Some labs have already learned what other clinicians have been slow to recognise – CAD/CAM technology works! It’s faster, more economical and highly accurate and the potential return of investment can be incredible.

Our Planscan and Plancad solution offers true chairside work, and as a result the patient seating time is significantly reduced. This not only reduces patient discomfort but generates improved revenue for the clinician by simply speeding up their daily workflow.

Better care through innovation

Don’t consider digital dentistry just hype. If you choose to wait a couple of years you will be left decades behind.

So, if you’ve decided that now it’s your time to enter this brave new world, ask yourself a few things first; what will improve my efficiency both in costs and in time? What will make my work more accurate? What will help me deliver greater care? Remember, just how the industrial revolution fuelled countless benefits for society, so too will embracing the very best forms of this digital revolution enable you and to offer the best possible treatment for your patients.

But don’t take my word for it – take a look around and notice how what once was considered ‘top tech’ has now become improved as we move towards a digitised society.

For more information on how Planmeca can help you with your digital revolution, please visit, email [email protected] or call 0500 500 686.

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