Digital technology in the dental practice, CAD/CAM techniques in the dental laboratory: Digital workflows simplify routine procedures
Gernot Schuller and his team again garnered much praise for organizing the successful “Competence in Esthetics” event which was held in Vienna in mid-November 2017. Distinguished speakers from 36 countries shared their thoughts about esthetics, teamwork and digitalization with the more than 1,300 congress delegates. On the eve of the event, we talked to Gernot Schuller about topics such as digital technology in the dental practice, CAD/CAM techniques in the dental laboratory and digital workflows.
Digital technology has changed the dental industryInterview with Gernot Schuller, Senior Director Austria & Eastern Europe at Ivoclar Vivadent, on the topic of using digital technology in dentistry
Mr Schuller, why did the topics of using digital technology in the dental practice and CAD/ CAM in the dental laboratory attract so much attention at the congress?
Gernot Schuller: Digital technology has changed the dental industry. It has firmly established itself in all the different areas of dentistry and dental lab technology. New developments in the field continue to be introduced at a growing pace. It is quite clear that digital technology has brought about many innovations and improvements, but it has also caused a lot of uncertainty. None of us is concerned about the technology that goes into our smartphones or digital cameras. Nevertheless, when it comes to our industry, we worry about the fact that this technology may one day replace the work and knowledge of people.
What do you think?
Gernot Schuller: Experts – and with this I mean human beings – are irreplaceable. This opinion is shared by many people. Furthermore, it was reflected in the numerous lectures presented in Vienna. They sent a clear message: Digital workflows are based on the same expert knowledge required for manual techniques. Digital technology offers highly intelligent options, but not an ultimate solution. It provides us with helpful tools, but it will never replace us.
Could you please name a few concrete examples?
Gernot Schuller: Yes, in fact I can provide you with two excellent examples from our congress: both of them involve the topic of communication:
- First example: Digital technology helps us to overcome barriers related to both space and time. It allows dentists and dental lab technicians from different countries to work together as a team. Several international teams presented their accomplishments in Vienna: for example, a duo from France and Turkey and another one from Romania and Ireland. Digital technology enables individuals to communicate effectively and exchange information reliably in real time.
- Second example: Digital technology allows us to visualize outcomes. On the one hand we have the patients who are becoming better informed. They do their research through Instagram and Facebook, etc. to obtain a clear idea of what they want when they consult the dental practice: They already know what their new smile should look like and which materials should be used. On the other hand we have the dental professionals who use these communication channels to show patients the possibilities offered by modern dentistry and dental lab technology. Many of our speakers operate their own YouTube channels in order to showcase their work and attract the attention of patients.
Both examples show how digital technology has revolutionized our means of communication by greatly simplifying them for everyone. It has changed the way in which professionals communicate with one another and with their patients.
Apart from communication, can you mention some other examples?
Gernot Schuller: In terms of the results, CAD/CAM technology considerably enhances efficiency, reliability and predictability.
- Let’s look at efficiency: The ability to save scanned data allows dental technicians to grow their digital library with every case they solve. Over time, therefore, they will have an extensive collection of tooth moulds at their disposal, which will help them to plan future cases. Consequently, dental technicians will be able to work more efficiently as they go along.
- Let’s look at reliability: Digitally manufactured mock-ups increase the reliability of dental work and therefore heighten the success of the outcome.
Mr Schuller, thank you very much for this interview.
Ivoclar Digital provides expert digital solutions for dentists and dental technicians throughout the entire digital process chain. Emphasis is placed on straightforward, easy-to-understand processes. The portfolio for digital workflows is divided into three categories and Service+.
Are you interested in other digital topics? If so, you might like to read the latest issue of Reflect!