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    5 new workflows that are now possible

    New workflows are improving dentistry for everyone.

    There are people who, believe it or not, haven’t set foot in a dentist’s office in 10 years. One can only imagine the new world they will encounter if and when they return.

    The workflows available to dentists today are a radical change from what was being practiced just a few years ago. Those new workflows may fascinate, because what dentists can do now can almost seem like something out of a science fiction movie. Here are just a few of the new workflows that are improving dentistry for everyone.

    1. All-digital restorations move beyond crowns 

    In the good old days, dentists would have to make a physical impression of the patient’s mouth using a medium like polyvinyl siloxane. For many patients, having a mouth full of impression material was an unpleasant experience. While the procedure was over for the patient, the inefficiency of the process was just beginning for the doctor and lab.

    Next, the impression would be boxed up and shipped to the lab where it would be developed by hand, pouring up models and meticulously tweaking a physical representation of the restoration. When the case was completed, it would again be boxed up and shipped back to the doctor’s office. The whole process would take, at best, several days, but more likely several weeks. And in the event something didn’t fit in the patient’s mouth properly, it would take even longer to get the problem corrected.

    Now, however, the digital age makes this process smoother, faster and efficient. All-digital workflows take a lot of the hands-on labor out of the process. In an all-digital scenario, the doctor simply scans the patient’s mouth with an intraoral scanner, sends it to the lab using a secure web portal and the lab can immediately start the case. Even better, the technician can look at the scan while the patient is still in the chair and tell the doctor if anything needs to be corrected. Once the scan is accepted by the lab, the case is designed on the computer, sent for production on the milling machine and can be shipped back to the doctor within a day or two.

    The end result is a faster, more efficient process for the doctor and lab, and a more pleasant experience for the patient.

    Related reading: How technology is REALLY changing the dental workflow

    2. Better treatment through digital imaging move beyond crowns 

    Doctors can tell a lot about their patients’ teeth through radiography. They are not only used to detect locations of decay, but can also be used when planning other types of restorations. The process was first introduced more than a century ago and has evolved ever since.

    The conventional method of radiography involved phosphor plates placed in the patient’s mouth and then an exposure to radiation. This method got the job done, but it was far from perfect, both from the standpoint of image quality and risk of radiation exposure to patients and staff. The physical media involved was also awkward to handle and cumbersome to store.

    Adding digital radiography to your workflow, however, ameliorates that. Digital radiography uses far less radiation and the results are instantly available on an operatory computer screen. Additionally, since the results are shown on a computer, they can be shared quickly and easily within the practice or with specialists, outside the office.

    In addition to 2D radiography, 3D radiography (in the form of cone beam computed tomography) allows even more comprehensive and complete scans of the patient. These scans allow doctors to see the interior of the patient’s head – in addition to tooth structure – allowing better treatment planning and to help avoid unwanted surprises. They’re also useful when planning implant cases, allowing doctors to find the precise location to place implants.

    Trending article: How the digital workflow will enhance communication and reliability


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    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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