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Ryan Hamm is the former Editorial Director for Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics.
Editor Ryan Hamm talks about Digital Esthetics, the latest publication from UBM Medica - Dental, which will cover the digital workflow for dental laboratories and dentists.
Imagine for a moment that you were a computer engineer or programmer back in 1992. You’d been reading about the World Wide Web, and perhaps you’d even played around on some research software being called a “browser.” But it was a pain to use the fledgling internet and trying to explain what it was to non-computer-savvy friends and family was even harder.
And then, in 1993, a web browser called Mosaic was launched. While you might not remember Mosaic, it was one of the first applications to popularize the World Wide Web-and you certainly remember its spiritual successor, Netscape Navigator. Mosaic gave us features we assume are default today-the back button, the URL bar and more. It changed the way we think about being connected, and let people in on the power of the internet. It didn’t single-handedly change the world, but it provided a new tool to let the world-changing power of the web become accessible to the average computer user. It showed that early predictions that the internet would one day change how people work, live and play were more than a possibility-they were an inevitability.
That process was similar to dentists and dental technicians in the mid-1980s. Perhaps they’d read about new techniques involving machining technology to both the lab and chairside. Perhaps they’d even seen a demonstration of the technology at a school or at a conference. But until the CEREC system was released in 1987 (with additional innovations coming in 1994 and 2000), it was hard to describe. And then, suddenly, the predictions of the future became a little easier. With each upgrade to a system that actually produced usable results, the idea of a digital workflow moved from an idea to a reality to inevitability.
That inevitability brings us to Digital Esthetics.
Where everything is going
Digital represents where we think the dental world is going. Notice I didn’t say the “lab” or the “clinical” world-digital tools are making those terms less and less meaningful to describe how dental work is actually done. That’s one of the biggest changes that technology has brought to the dental world. It’s no longer possible for work to be siloed off in either lab or clinical workflows; instead, dental technicians need to know digital impressions are taken and how final results will impact patient care, while dental practitioners must understand the lab-based CAD/CAM process and the evolution of digital materials. What the digital workflow has done to dentistry (and what it has enabled dentistry to do!) is revolutionary-and there’s no going back.
However, that isn’t a scary concept! Your editorial team at Digital Esthetics, comprised of a team of journalists and backed by an Editorial Advisory Board filled with expert dentists and dental technicians, truly believes the digital workflow offers solutions and opportunities that can help practices, dental laboratories and patients. That's why we made the decision to cease publication of Dental Lab Products and instead bring you a concept we think is more accurate for the dental world in 2016. We believe the digital workflow can improve efficiency and bottom lines, but we also think it can improve patient care and dental team cooperation.
But we also believe that just because digital tools make restorations and prostheses faster and more collaborative doesn’t mean that skills and esthetics are no longer needed. Sarah Anders, COO of Ivoclar Vivadent North America, said, “we must never lose sight of the fact that we are replacing a patient’s anatomy and this deserves the human touch.” That’s the mindset behind digital esthetics-yes, we believe digital tools and the digital workflow enable dental professionals to do their jobs better than ever, but we don’t believe those changes should sacrifice any commitment to quality and esthetics. We think digital materials represent a breakthrough in esthetics, but we also know that beautiful final results don’t just happen; it requires a skillful technician working with a skillful dentist working with a skillful team. That’s why our name is Digital Esthetics. We believe-in the present and future of dentistry-you can’t separate one part of the name from the other.
Next page: What we're all about ...
What we’re all about
So what can you expect from Digital Esthetics? Simply put, we’re dedicated to bringing you techniques, tips and how-tos, product information and interviews with real users, all talking about how digital dentistry is happening in context. We’re bringing you articles that tackle what’s happening in dental technology today, and what that means for the future. Digital Esthetics will concentrate heavily on step-by-step techniques because you’ve told us that's what you want most from dental magazines, and we think it’s the best way to show how these products and workflow actually function in the real world.
Naturally, Digital Esthetics won’t be limited to this website. We’re also launching a print magazine later this month. It will go out every other month, and we’re excited for you to see the plans we’ve got for this new, beautiful print publication. I don’t have to tell you how rare it is to launch a print magazine in 2016, so we’re pretty confident we have something special.
This website is also part of the Modern Dental Network, a collection of websites that links the entire dental team under one common portal. Digital-Esthetics.com will focus on up-to-the-minute coverage of the digital workflow, showcasing new products, updates and techniques-it won’t just be print articles in web format; instead, it will complement and provide a different experience for readers and users. To keep up-to-date, sign up for our newsletter and don't miss a thing.
We’re also working on the Digital Esthetics app. We’ve designed it from the ground up to be optimized for tablets-subscribe at the Apple App Store or at the Google Play Store.
We are so excited to bring this new vision of the dental workflow to you. And we are dedicated to walking with you every step of the way. Whether you’re a dentist, a dental technician, a dental team member or you’re in another role that takes patient care seriously, Digital Esthetics is for you. We are truly technologically minded and esthetically committed, and we hope our mission helps you improve your business, your bottom line and your ability to take care of people.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, email me! I'd love to hear about your experiences going digital and how we can best help you, whether you're a dentist or a dental technician or someone else on the team.