Dr. Seung Paik, Prosthodontist, Clear Choice Dental Implants
Digital technologies are revolutionizing dental implant treatment processes and workflows. From intra-oral and laboratory scanning to virtual wax-ups and restoration designs, analog treatment workflows are being improved in many cases by digital workflows. This digital revolution has the potential to affect the lives of the 120 million Americans who are missing one or more teeth.
The sheer volume of people potentially impacted by changes in digital workflows surrounding implants makes it a critical part of dentistry’s future. There is a significant need for treatment with 35 million Americans missing all of their teeth in at least one jaw and over 15 million people per year undergoing bridge and crown replacements for missing teeth. There is also an increasing amount of research that shows a systemic health relationship between a person’s oral health and their overall health.
"Many patients we treat in our center are unable to eat anything but a soft diet and as a result have developed additional disease states"
In the past, dental implant treatment was a long, multi-stage process that was complicated, uncomfortable and quite costly. Now, digital workflow allows laboratory scans to realize digital dental arches which are then milled into quality prostheses. This process is time-saving and cost-saving, it facilitates clear and effective communication between the clinicians and the dental technician, and it results in a remarkably strong prosthesis. This allows a patient to not only smile with confidence again but it also allows them to enjoy the foods they want to eat. So many of the patients we see in our center are feeling hopeless about their dental health but their overall health is also failing them due to poor nutrition brought on by poor mastication capabilities. Many patients we treat in our center are unable to eat anything but a soft diet and as a result have developed additional disease states.
For every arch we can design digitally, we save about 3-4 hours in the office. For dentists the ability to save chair side time is extremely valuable because it allows us as clinicians and our staff to treat more patients. There are roughly 200,000 dental clinicians in the US with a large demand for their services. Creating more efficient treatment modalities can allow us as a profession to greater serve the need. The key to the success of digital workflows in dentistry is the ability to effectively, and immediately, communicate information and stream line processes.
Dr. Phillip McIver, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon and Mr. Scott Adams, Sr. Director, Dental Services, Clear Choice Dental Implants
The transition to digital technology is seamless and simplifying. On the surgical end, doctors went from using prosthesis and a guide with multiple components to a guide and temporary prosthesis all in one structure. The products doctors are receiving from the digital lab are precise and exactly individualized for each patient’s case which has also decreased the fracture rates in our center. This is because communication between the doctors, our staff, and the digital team is transparent and represents a team approach to treating a patient.
The first step in the digital workflow is to scan a model of the patient’s mouth with the 3Shape D2000 lab scanner and to then send those images along with any additional notes and information to the digital design team. That team then creates an overall design that they send digitally back to the dentist’s office so that any necessary tweaks can be made to perfect the design before any physical PMMA milling even takes place. The prosthesis then arrives in the doctor’s office, along with a surgical guide and printed bite registration, ready for immediate placement on the day of surgery. The entire process is expedited by incorporating these digital technologies.
It’s so rewarding to be able to tell a patient we can complete the surgery and the temporary prosthesis in one day allowing them to go home with a new smile and a new outlook on life. The technologies being utilized by clinicians across the country are restoring a patient’s ability to confidently eat, smile, laugh, talk, and enjoy regular day-to-day activities. In our center, the benefits provided by working with an expert digital workflow team is making a difference in our treatment planning and execution while also allowing us to treat more patients and transform more lives.
ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers are locally owned and operated by licensed dentists, and are part of a professional affiliation of implant practices operated by oral surgeons, prosthodontists, and restorative dentists across the U.S.