Enhancing patient dental experience


Have you ever asked yourself if there is a way to improve your dental appointments in terms of time, quality and results? The answer to that question is yes, but only if your dentist uses digital equipment. As you may know, all the industries have evolved, the cameras used to be analog and now they are digital, we used to buy CD’s and now we download the music from the internet, we used to read printed books and now we can find them as digital versions. All of these are examples of how the industries have evolved, making it easier for a customer to obtain a good or service as fast as needed.

The same digital evolution has happened in the dental industry, procedures that used to last 4 appointments (1 month), can now be done in 4 hours, in the same appointment. Procedures that were uncomfortable and painful to the patient can now be done with better esthetic, comfort, quality and less pain. But of course, those benefits would be available only if your dentist has evolved to digital dentistry.

Here is a quick explanation of how a procedure is done in traditional dentistry and in digital dentistry: changing a crown (which is a procedure that entails putting a cap over a tooth). In the traditional dentistry, you have to go minimum four times to the dentist to get that procedure done, the first appointment is to get an evaluation of what is going on, then you have to go and get an X-ray (if needed), then go back to the dentist office to get the dental impression(which in some cases can be uncomfortable to the patient), then you have to go again to the dental office when the crown is ready and if it fits perfectly you don’t have to go again, but if for some reason (maybe due to an error while making the impression, choosing the wrong color or actually making the crown, among others) it doesn’t, you might have to go back until it fits perfectly. This procedure could almost take up to a month depending on your and the dentist’s availability to make appointments.

With the digital dentistry, you could finish that procedure in just 1 appointment because there is system call CAD/CAM which has an intraoral scanner, a design software, and a milling machine.  Using this system, the dentist can take the “digital dental impression” with the intraoral scanner that is a small camera that takes hundreds of pictures of your teeth. Then with that impression, the dentist designs the crown in the software and after designing it, the design is sent to the milling machine to make the crown in less than 15 minutes. Finally, that crown is placed in the patient’s mouth. This procedure can last between 2 or 4 hours and can all be completed the same day, in the same dental office.

As a dentist is important to know how convenient it would be to their patients to have this technology and how uncomfortable it is to use the traditional impression technique, which is more “likely to disappear in the next few years” according to the article more information Digital Dentistry: New Materials and Techniques by Francesco Mangano, et al. and how this technology will improve the outcomes of the patient by having more time to focus on their jobs without having to waste time going to many dental appointments. This would also improve the outcome of the dentist by having more, and new patients per month and not the same one 3 or 4 times per month.

In conclusion, knowing the benefits associated with digital dentistry it is important that we, as patients, demand our dentist the usage of this technology. If you are paying for a dental treatment, you would like to be treated as if you are in 2018, no in 1990. Of course, dentists that still use the traditional dentistry will still be able to solve the problem but there are modern, faster and better ways to do it. Consider this: if you want to get a new music album, you can get in your car, drive to the mall, find a music store, wait for someone to help you find the specific album you are looking for and hope that it is in stock. Or, you could simply lay on your couch, purchase that same album on your smartphone, wait a couple of minutes until it’s fully downloaded and start playing it. As a patient in need of dental assistance, you can choose to “drive to the mall” or “stay in your couch” and as a dentist, you can choose to be the “music store at the mall” or the “online music platform”.

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