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    How the digital revolution is making an impact on implant treatment

    Advances in dental software and digital materials are leading to a more collaborative workflow.

    It’s no secret that digital technologies are taking the dental and lab worlds by storm. The digital transition has led to more efficient workflows, easily accessible patient information and intuitive user interfaces, among other benefits.

    Pascal KunzDigital Esthetics recently sat down with Dr. Pascal Kunz, vice president of product management digital dentistry at Nobel Biocare, to discuss the digital workflow and its impact on implant treatment.

    1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your role at Nobel Biocare?

    Kunz: I am a trained medical doctor and dentist and have worked in both professions clinically. In dentistry, I was treating patients on a daily basis for six years until I was asked to join Nobel Biocare. Listening to our customers on a daily basis and benefiting from understanding their unmet needs is central to everything we do here, so it really helps that I have been in their shoes. Innovating for the benefit of the patient and helping the profession to improve through the benefits of modern technology is what drives me. We are now working very closely with colleagues from other companies in the Danaher Dental Platform to streamline our offerings and connect technologies for the next generation of workflows and equipment.

    2. From your perspective, how far into the digital transition has dentistry gone and how much more is there to go?

    Kunz: When I was still working as a clinician, there was no doubt that a digital revolution in dentistry would need to come. The question was when would it truly arrive and what the pace of change would be. Today, we are living in the middle of something I would describe as an evolution and transition period. Dentistry is complex in many ways and other industries with fewer regulatory requirements can potentially move faster.

    Read more: Nobel Biocare unveils new solution for faster full-arch restorations

    Patient data is more routinely stored, accessed and shared in digital form, and the industry needs to ensure that patient data is handled correctly, respectfully and securely. This is a responsibility that we take extremely seriously at Nobel Biocare. While technology changes, one thing does not — the need for a clear focus on the patient. In addition, user interfaces for digital technology are increasingly intuitive, and we are aiming for more automation at various steps in the treatment flow.

    There are many dental professionals who, understandably, are wary of new ways of working and prefer to continue using the processes they were originally trained in. The number of early adopters in dentistry remains relatively small, but those who embrace emerging technologies stand to benefit. Technology should help us to become even better, not force us to leave our traditional education and skills untapped. I think overall the industry leaders have realized that digital dentistry has arrived and are beginning to embrace the change that is happening.

    3. Nobel Biocare has recently updated its collaborative workflow. What led you to do this?

    Kunz: The changes you refer to allow 3D surface scan information into our NobelClinician software workflows. This means that owners of intraoral scanners can now export STL or PLY files containing tissue information, in color, into NobelClinician. This can then be used with the software’s SmartFusion feature, which fuses CBCT scans with digital impressions, and a new functionality we call SmartSetup, a fully automated tooth setup completing the partially edentulous imported digital arch with a tooth setup proposal. This can be immediately used for prosthetic-driven treatment planning in NobelClinician already at the first patient visit. This immediately helps to classify the complexity of the treatment by supporting assessment of bone and soft tissue at prosthetically important positions and the need for augmentation. It also fosters broader collaboration within referral teams.

    At Nobel Biocare, we have long appreciated the benefits of bringing skilled dental technicians into the treatment process at the earliest possible stage. The role of the technician is important in so many dental procedures, but particularly in implant treatment. To achieve a truly esthetic, long-lasting outcome with implant treatment, you have to plan the surgery with the prosthetics in mind. Who better to help you with that than the person who will create the prosthesis?

    Our collaborative workflow will allow the dental technician to get involved right from the start of the treatment process so that the restorative solution is taken into consideration already at the implant planning stage.
    As a wealth of research shows, Nobel Biocare implants with the proven TiUnite implant surface and specially developed drill protocols are engineered, tested and cleared to enable immediate loading protocols, probably like no other system. The possibility to provide an esthetic, screw-retained provisional helps the clinician to take full advantage of this and meet his or her patient’s desire to leave the dental office with a smile he or she can be proud of.

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    With our workflow, the treatment team has everything they need to get to the desired outcome as efficiently as possible. What’s more, the provisional then also serves as a useful blueprint when the technician is creating the final restoration.

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