When’s the last time a patient greeted an impression tray with excitement? We’re going to go out on a limb and say ‘Never’. If your answer is the same, then you’ll appreciate the game-changing dental trends that new technology has brought on. For example, using an intraoral scanner for digital dental impressions not only makes patients happier, it also makes you more productive and efficient.
“[Patients are] used to the old-fashioned impression material. Nobody likes that stuff because it’s dirty and messy. When patients see the scanner, … every patient is impressed. It’s the ‘wow’ factor.”
Dr. Angela Leung, The Endodontics Implant Center
In today’s complex market landscape, dental practices are challenged by rising costs, labor shortages, and insurance billing – among other things. Small practice owners are looking for ways to offset these issues and stay competitive. One way to do so is to expand into high-growth specialty services like orthodontics and endodontics. Embracing digital technology like an intraoral scanner will help you prepare for these new growth opportunities.
The 2022 Dental Industry Report from Dandy includes these and other insights from dental practitioners across the US. Read it to understand how the dental industry is evolving and what trends are driving market growth.
Consider this data from the report that shows five advantages of digital dental impressions.
5 Advantages of Digital Dental Impressions
1. Digital Technology Gives Dentists a Competitive Edge
Digital dentistry is here, and it’s here to stay. 50% of dentists surveyed in the Dental Industry Report use an intraoral scanner. And of the remaining 50% who are not already using one, 51% plan to start in 2022. That means up to 75% of dentists will be using a dental scanner in 2022. Digital dental technology improves the patient experience – more on that in a bit – and delivers better quality restorations. Those benefits coupled with the higher perceived value will give dentists a competitive edge over those who use traditional tools and workflows.
2. Dental Scanning Improves Your Patients’ Experience
Happy dental patients can mean many things: less stress, higher case acceptance, and more patient referrals. Dr. Angela Leung of The Endodontics Implant Center said: “When patients see the scanner, … every patient is impressed. It’s the ‘wow’ factor.”
Dr. Layla Baidas, owner of Signature Smiles of Park Ridge, has had the same experience. She says, “The first impression when I scan a patient’s teeth is, ‘What is this? This is amazing.’ They are impressed with the technology and love seeing their teeth. And it’s a lot faster [than traditional impressions], so patients love it.”
The increase in patient comfort is also often cited as a big win. Dr. Kevin To, owner of OnCall Dental Urgent Care, shares, “It just makes so much more sense from a comfort standpoint. Patients will say, ‘Man, I’m glad you don’t have to use all that goop in my mouth again.’”
Of note, dentists in the survey who cited patient experience among their top two priorities are twice as likely to use an intraoral scanner. So if patient experience is important to you, it might be time to start researching new technology.
3. Digital Workflows Make Your Job Easier
In a clinical study comparing intraoral scanning and conventional impressions, the vast majority of practitioners preferred the digital scanning technique (89%) over the conventional impression technique (11%). There are many reasons for this. Using a digital scanner for impressions is faster than taking traditional impressions, which frees up chair time. Impressions get to the dental lab instantly, too – no shipping involved. And perhaps most importantly, digital impressions are far more accurate than PVS dental impressions.
- What is Digital Dentistry?
- Trends in Dentistry: 5 Crucial Takeaways You Can Actually Use
- The Top 5 Benefits of a Digital Workflow for Dentistry According To Real Dentists
4. Digital Workflows Increase Productivity
The whole goal of new technology is to make our lives easier and more efficient. Intraoral scanners and digital workflows deliver on that promise.
To follow the point above about scanning’s high accuracy rate – when labs get accurate impressions, there are fewer redos, and dental restorations come back needing minimal to no adjustments. Aside from keeping patients happy, that means faster follow-up appointments, better restoration integrity, and less risk of a dispute with the lab. All of this saves time.
And since any staff member can operate the intraoral scanner, you have the freedom to work on higher-value services and procedures. “It frees up my time since my assistant can do the scanning. I can do more procedures and increase my productivity,” explains Dr. Angela Leung, owner of The Endodontics Implant Center.
5. Digital Impressions Help Reduce Costs
While 65% of our survey respondents said that increasing practice profitability is their top priority, nearly the same percentage (66%) said rising costs are their top challenge.
Luckily, digital scanning can provide significant cost savings. First, since scans are virtual, there’s no need for impression materials. There are no shipping costs either since scans are sent to the lab digitally, in real-time. And as mentioned earlier, many practitioners also report a much lower restoration remake rate which eliminates the extra (usually unbilled) fitting appointments. And these are just the easily tracked costs. Think about all the back and forth involved in trying to schedule and reschedule when those restorations don’t show up from the lab on time.
Digital Adoption and the Dental Industry
The results of the 2022 Dental Industry Report indicate that the dental industry is moving towards digital adoption. Intraoral scanning is just one part of the digital workflow, but it makes a huge difference!
Want to learn more about where things are headed and how you can get a competitive edge?