Traditional dental practices may have served us well for many years, but today, the dental industry is in the midst of a tidal change. In other words, it’s going digital.
Thanks to recent innovations, you can adopt a number of emerging technologies to augment the way you treat patients. By carefully curating the right technology stack, you can dramatically improve patient experiences and outcomes while reducing total chair time—all of which is vital for when it comes to how to grow your orthodontic practice.
While there are dozens of transformative digital technologies, five, in particular, are must-haves for any dental office that seeks to increase productivity and attract new patients.
#1 Intraoral Scanners
Are you still making physical impressions for dentures and other dental implants? If so, an intraoral scanner could be an opportunity to make impressions easier and less time-consuming for both you and your cosmetic dentistry patients.
Taking traditional mold impressions is one of the more unpleasant, albeit necessary, practices for any dental office. The process is not particularly advantageous for either the dentist or the patient for several reasons:
- For patients – The mold impressions can be uncomfortable, especially for patients with a strong gag reflex.
- For dentists – The process is prone to error, time-consuming, and requires back and forth with the dental lab.
Intraoral scanners are the solution to this dental problem.
With a handheld intraoral device, a dentist can rapidly scan a patient’s oral cavity to create a perfect data render of the patient’s mouth. This scan turns into a 3D digital dental model that can then be used to create high-quality dental products, including dentures and crowns.
Modern intraoral scanners, such as the one Dandy provides, leverage intelligent processing for rapid scanning and high-precision accuracy.
#2 CAD/CAM Technology
Intraoral scanning is ineffectual without computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technologies. CAD/CAM dentistry tech can be used to rapidly design and manufacture complex restorations that fit, feel, and look better.
Thanks to CAD/CAM digitalization, dental treatment processes that used to take weeks to complete can now be done in hours. After the lab receives the 3D model, they can make minor tweaks to ensure proper spacing and alignment.
When it comes to what can increase productivity in a dental office, together, intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM advanced dental technology reduce patient chair time and improve patient experiences and outcomes.
#3 Digital Radiography
X-rays are still widely used across the dental industry for daily operations. But traditional x-rays relied on film processing. That was a slow and costly process that also required dental offices to physically store and share the copies.
Direct digital radiography has changed that. This advanced form of X-Ray inspection quickly renders digital radiographic images on a computer screen.
A dental professional can take digital x-rays both inside (intraorally) and outside (extraorally) of the mouth. Once scanned, that file is then stored in a physical server or the cloud, making for much easier dissemination.
Other advantages of this dental technology include:
- Reduced exposure times
- Real-time dental applications
- Improved detail, SNR, and linearity
- Ease of storage and transfer
- Immediate feedback
#4 Zirconia Crowns
Historically, dental crowns have been made from porcelain-fused-to-metal or full-gold crowns.
But these traditional restorative dentistry options are fading out of style. They’re being replaced by superior, non-metal alternatives such as zirconia crowns, an innovative material made from zirconia-based ceramics. Whether a dentist uses a monolithic, layered, or high-translucent zirconia, the crowns are stronger, more durable, and look better.
The unique advantages of zirconia crowns include:
- Customizable – The material is incredibly malleable, making it easy to precisely match the new dental crown to the patient’s existing tooth.
- Biocompatible – Zirconia is non-toxic, metal-free, and hypoallergenic, which means patients needn’t worry about a negative reaction.
- Color matching – Previously, a drawback of zirconia crowns was that it was difficult to ensure the colors blended in naturally with other teeth. But Dandy’s intraoral scanning technology has shade-matching workflows to ensure the teeth are the perfect shade.
#5 Digital Records and Charts
Maintaining comprehensive and accurate patient records is an essential part of general dentistry. Diligent record keeping is a vital skill that empowers a dentist to deliver quality patient care and follow-up.
But paperwork can be a significant administrative burden for every dental clinic.
Dental records can contain information about clinical examinations, diagnoses, dental procedures performed, prognosis, and the patient’s medical history. Much of this paperwork consists of highly sensitive, personally identifiable information, which you’re legally required to maintain and safeguard.
Yet, many dental clinics still rely on outdated paper charts and documentation for their record keeping. It’s messy, disorganized, time-consuming, and requires a lot of storage space.
Maintaining digital records is the better, more efficient way. Advantages of electronic dental health records include:
- Easier to maintain and access accurate, up-to-date information about patients at the point of care
- Enables secure sharing of health records with patients or other clinicians
- Reduces costs related to paperwork and administrative burden
- Strengthens privacy and security of patient data
Go Digital with Dandy
The dental world is changing rapidly. Technological advancements in dentistry are spurring that transformation.
With increasing marketplace competition and more demanding patients, a dental clinic can’t afford to simply stick with the status quo—not when their competitors are embracing the digital future. By adopting new dental technology, you can create internal and external efficiencies that empower you to better serve your patients.
That’s where Dandy comes in.
Our platform is designed to modernize dental practices by making their entire process digital — from start to finish. With intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM design, our goal is to create lift in everything you do.
Have you considered going digital? Dandy can help you get started today.
Journal of the American Dental Association. Intraoral Scanners. https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(21)00312-3/fulltext
NCBI. Understanding Dental CAD/CAM for Restorations—Accuracy from a Mechanical Engineering Viewpoint. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26734668/
International Atomic Energy Agency. Digital Radiography. https://www.iaea.org/resources/rpop/health-professionals/radiology/radiography/digital-radiography
Health IT. Advantages of Electronic Health Records. https://www.healthit.gov/faq/what-are-advantages-electronic-health-records