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How to optimize a team approach to digital dentistry and CAD/CAM [VIDEO]

Issue 7

Bryan Couch, DDS, doesn’t mince words when it comes to his experience with digital impressions and in-office CAD/CAM: “It’s the single most important tool I’ve purchased in 29 years of dentistry.”

Bryan Couch, DDS, doesn’t mince words when it comes to his experience with digital impressions and in-office CAD/CAM: “It’s the single most important tool I’ve purchased in 29 years of dentistry.”

The Coppell, Texas, cosmetic and family dentist first invested in the E4D system (now PlanScan) five years ago, with the goal of simply controlling his lab costs. But what he found, he says, is a system that has revolutionized his patients’ experiences of dental care by allowing him to deliver excellent restorations in a single visit while controlling costs across the board.

“As lab fees and overhead continue to increase and benefit reimbursements continue to stagnate or fall, going digital is an absolute must if you want to continue to offer excellent care and run a profitable practice,” he says. “It’s that simple.”

Dr. Couch says he uses the system every day and produces about half of his restorations in office. But he says going digital has also revolutionized the way he communicates with his lab.

For lab cases, Dr. Couch, or more likely his assistant, scans the impression and sends it to his lab. Once at the lab, the impression is used to create a digital model before producing the restoration. Because the impression, model and restoration design all live on the cloud, Dr. Couch can work with his lab in real time to approve the case or make adjustments.

Jimmy Fincher, digital dentistry trainer and owner of Cosmetic Advantage Dental Lab in Lewisville, Texas, says that working with dentists who use digital impression systems speeds up the restorative workflow and greatly improves communications and results, virtually eliminating delays and remakes.

“When a doctor sends a digital scan, it’s really a situation where, whatever you want to do is what we can do,” Fincher says. “We really have no limitations.”

For dentists considering the move to a digital system, Dr. Couch has two important recommendations. First, be sure to choose a system that supports open architecture as opposed to a closed, proprietary system. An open system means the equipment will work with the other digital tools-such as digital radiography or cone beam imaging systems-you already have.

His second recommendation is to involve your team right away.

“My assistant is integral to this process,” Dr. Couch says. I could not, and would not, be able to work as efficiently as I can without my assistant being 100 percent involved.”

Sherri White, RDA, a dental assistant and CAD/CAM trainer who teaches dental teams how to integrate and get the most from their CAD/CAM systems, agrees.

“It’s really important to involve the whole team,” White says. “Some dental assistants are intimidated by technology, but they should view it as a way to empower them to play a bigger role in the practice.”

To learn more about how digital dentistry can empower your entire team-dentist, assistant and lab-watch the video interview with Dr. Couch, White and Fincher, and download the free white paper: “The New Digital Workflow.” This important paper will show you:

  • The state of CAD/CAM in 2014;

  • Benefits of the digital workflow;

  • Best practices for dental practices and labs to achieve greater efficiency, cost savings and results by working together digitally;

  • How to get started; and

  • Key features to look for.


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