The global pandemic has had a major impact on the dental industry and has already created significant changes to the way in which dental practices and laboratories are working. With the backlog of patients now awaiting treatment for prosthetics and dental implants in particular, laboratories need to be ready to take advantage of the pent-up demand by working efficiently and effectively. Nowhere is the impact of digital technology more influential that in the field of dental implants – in this discipline a digital approach speeds up the entire restorative process and increases efficiency across the board.
A digital impression, anything from a single arch to a full mouth scan, can be taken in just a few minutes, with no impression materials or disinfection of the impression required. Once completed the case can be immediately transferred securely to a digitally-enabled laboratory, where the scans can be checked for accuracy. The speed of this process reduces errors and enables the technician to check the scan and immediately query any issues.
The accuracy of digital impressions is particularly important in implant treatment, where every fraction of a millimetre counts. There’s no need to worry about air bubbles, poorly taken impressions or inaccurate margins, making the life of a technician much more straightforward. A digital impression can be viewed as soon as it reaches the lab and if there’s a problem it can be retaken immediately, while the patient is still in the chair, virtually eliminating the need for time-consuming and costly remakes and adjustments.
Today’s open digital platform offers fast and secure connectivity between the practice and the lab, meaning there are no concerns about being tied to a specific implant system or manufacturer, allowing clinicians and technicians to work together as a team for the benefit of patients.
With both parties seeing exactly the same electronic file and digital prescription, decisions can be made collaboratively to create the best possible outcome – no more trying to read illegible handwriting on a prescription that can be open to misinterpretation. The electronic files ensure all the vital information required is clear and concise, with the dentist’s requirements easy to understand.
Infection control has become a major factor over the past 12 months. Conventional impressions must be disinfected before leaving the surgery and entering the lab and sometimes these procedures are not as robust as they might be. The advantages of using digital technology minimises patient contact and removes the need for disinfection for the lab or physical transportation and there is minimal staff exposure to any sort of virus or infection that might be carried on an analogue impression.
THE WAY FORWARD
Digital impressions are more comfortable for patients, reducing chair time and ultimately leading to an improved patient experience – an important tool in helping to improve the public perception of dentistry.
The digitisation of implant placement starts with a digital impression and this process is revolutionising the relationship between dentists and technicians. Laboratories should now be looking to take advantage of the many benefits of digitisation in an effort to radically improve the efficiency and viability of their business.
To see the full range of Henry Schein digital solutions, visit hsdequipment.co.uk
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