Digital dentistry is not the future – it’s the present
An exciting line-up of future-thinking speakers will spark the enthusiasm of delegates at this year’s Henry Schein Digital Symposium. Here we outline what lies in store
Bigger and better digital dentistry
There is a real buzz around this year’s Henry Schein Digital Symposium, which takes place on 27-28 April in London. The success of last year’s symposium was crowned by winning the Dental Event of the Year 2017 at the Dental Industry Awards – a testament to the great reception, to the informative and thought-provoking talks and break-out sessions, and the presence of many of the leading lights in digital dentistry, including clinicians, technicians, dental manufacturers, and suppliers.
This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better with another impressive line-up of future-thinking speakers who will talk about the new trends and what is exciting them about the evolving world of digital dentistry.
Here, dentistry.co.uk catches up with some of this year’s speakers to get a taste of what’s on their minds.
Keynote speaker: Bertalan Mesko – The Medical Futurist
Bertalan Mesko is The Medical Futurist, director of The Medical Futurist Institute, and one of the most well-known voices in healthcare technology globally.
As his title might suggest, he has his sights firmly set on the future and is interested in how the new technologies that bring so many benefits to healthcare, including dentistry, can be successfully integrated into an essentially traditional healthcare system.
‘There are reasons why healthcare is regulated and we need to keep patients safe,’ he says. ‘But I will talk about the battle between new technologies that are becoming disruptive and the traditional hierarchy of healthcare that needs to evolve along with the newly-empowered patient.’
He will also tackle the fear of many dentists that new technology may result in them losing their jobs. ‘Dentistry is not a linear process; it relies on personal engagement and becoming familiar with patients, the way they present themselves and all of these things contribute to the final outcome. Technology can be harnessed by dentists to help them do better dentistry – it is not a threat.’
The essential human element of dentistry is a topic close to the heart of another of the speakers: Joseph Kunkela, an innovative dentist with extensive experience in prosthodontics and restorative dentistry.
In his presentation, he will posit that even with all this fantastic technology at our fingertips, it still needs to be operated by human hands. Creativity, precision, and ‘thinking outside the box’ can enhance the advantages of digital dentistry and can bring us to another level, instead of merely substituting impression materials with an intraoral scanner.
It is also through harnessing the ability of digital equipment that we are able to record and exactly copy the natural shapes of teeth, which enables the provision of naturally-shaped bespoke restorations through Biocopy and CAD/CAM technology. Dr Kunkela will go into more depth about these exciting developments.
For Jep Paschal – orthodontic practice owner and current member and co-chair of AAO Future Think Tank – it is now a reality that his patients want an easier, more convenient way to align their teeth and that if a dentist fails to satisfy the patients’ preferences, they will find someone or something else that will. This is fuelling his drive to leverage the power of digital technology to bring greater value to his patients by improving traditional techniques and blending them with digital solutions in a financially feasible way.
He explains: ‘Instead of applying one orthodontic technique to all patients, orthodontics is now defined by how we select from a palate of multiple techniques and technologies and deliver unique solutions to each patient, satisfying their dental needs and their lifestyle.’
Jep will also talk about the Sagittal First treatment philosophy, which he has enthusiastically adopted in his practice. This approach has revolutionised how he delivers care to his patients and radically improved his treatment efficiencies. Digital technology and Sagittal First enable his practice to accommodate a patient’s treatment objectives and desires with the goal of getting them out of braces in less than eight to 12 months.
Rune Fisker, key creator and driver of 3shape’s solution-orientated innovations, will give his insights into exciting new innovations and trends coming to the world of digital dentistry.
He believes we are at a tipping point in terms of digital acceptance, comparable with the introduction of mobile phones in the 1990s: for years, nothing much happened and then innovation on the part of manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung suddenly made the market take off.
Similarly, what creates real value with modern smartphones is the variety of apps they hold. ‘I believe apps are going to become a big part of digital dentistry. Taking a digital impression is just the beginning – we can now start using apps to create additional value, whether that’s designing crowns, guided surgery or patient monitoring.’
He will also talk about the power of digital dentistry to create patient excitement. He believes this can be achieved by showing patients what their mouths will look like after treatment. Increasing patient excitement also increases treatment acceptance, and this in turn can really help a dental practice grow.
These four influential speakers are joined by a host of others including Colin Campbell, Eimear O’Connell, Cohan Rajan and Petr Mysicka.
The topics are wide-ranging and include the efficiencies of digital workflows and single-visit dentistry, the benefits of digital dentistry and planning for the future from a business perspective, digitally-driven aesthetics, guided implant surgery, digital shade matching, 3D printing, digital dentures and education.
It is a hugely exciting time for dentistry and the latest digital technologies that are being adopted in all areas are not to be feared – but rather embraced as a helping hand in what will always be a fundamentally human interaction between dentists, their patients and the dental industry as a whole. As the keynote speaker says, dental professionals all need to be aware of the technologies and digital trends that are going to have an impact on dentistry and adopt the ones that are right for them. The future cannot be predicted, but a futurist mind-set and the willingness to embrace the digital revolution is important.
The Henry Schein Digital Symposium is taking place at the Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel on 27-28 April 2018.