Digital Technology: Does It Have A Place In The Dental Practice?

In today’s busy electronic world, it seems there are digital devices for just about everything one could imagine.  We carry tiny computers in our pockets and purses or attached to our belts in the form of our smart phones; there are tablets that are small enough to put into your pocket and purse that are able to do virtually anything you can do on your personal computer.  We can even see our callers in real time when conversing with them on our smart phones, computers, laptops and tablets!  Who would have ever thought we’d be doing these things in 2014?  This is only scratching the surface of the hundreds if not thousands of digital products currently on the market or those that will be on the market in the very near future…and this is only for the personal use of ordinary people.  What about the digital uses in the commercial and medical communities?  Have you ever considered the uses of digital imaging in the dental office practice?  Well, come along with me and I will share some information I recently learned about some new digital technology being used in some dental offices.

Digital Technology in the Dental Office

It seems that, in the dental office like thousands of offices all over this country, digital technology is present and is increasingly determining the way work is being done.  Let’s talk about intra-oral scanners, for an example.  These digital devices can provide new treatment options for the patient as well as accelerate the prosthetic workflow.  In this particular case, there has been little solid information about how long it actually takes to make digital impressions but, recently a new study was released that increased our knowledge in this area.

Evaluation of Time Efficiency of Different Intra-Oral Scanners

Researchers continually seek to increase our knowledge and time efficiency in many areas in both the private sector as well as the medical sector.  In an attempt to evaluate the time efficiency of different intra-oral scanners, they considered three different models: 3M ESPE’s Lava Chairside Oral Scanner, Align Technology’s iTero intra-oral scanner and CEREC, which is manufactured by Sirona.  The researchers measured the time needed for different procedures using these three scanners.  They then compared the results for three conventional impression materials. What they found was interesting:  the time needed to digitize a single abutment, a short-span fixed dental prosthesis and a full-arch prosthesis preparation ranged from 6 to 22 minutes using the intra-oral scanners while making the impressions the conventional way took 18 to 30 minutes.  They concluded that the computer-aided impression making was significantly faster for all of the scenarios they tested.  This suggested that the digital technology could usher in more time-efficient workflows for dental offices. While this digital technology will enable more efficient time management for the dental office and better utilize the patient’s time in the office, it still requires that the patient be seen and diagnosed for the procedure.  Your Periodontist on Long Island can help to identify gum disease, periodontal diseases and the need for some of the above mentioned procedures.  Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit at and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

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