What will define the dental practice world of 2030?

In a recent New York Times discussion, reporter Janet Morrissey describes “a technological metamorphosis” taking place within the dental industry.

“Among the latest innovations: The use of digital scanners and 3-D printers to offer same-day crown replacements, smart toothbrushes that talk back to you via a phone app when you’ve missed an area while brushing, lasers that eliminate the need for an anesthetic, and digital tools that detect oral cancer.

Some of these advances had been around for a number of years but had not been widely adopted because of high equipment costs, lack of training or dentists who were more comfortable with older, traditional equipment.”

New York Times Contributor Janet Morrissey

It’s as though an explosion of advancement is occurring and dentists navigate an endless array of options swirling around them.

How can CAD/CAM dentistry benefit a patient — and a dental practice?

Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) enhance the design and creation of dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, inlays, onlays and bridges from a single block of ceramic.

Time is a precious commodity, and with an entire chairside process that can be completed within a range from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours, CAD/CAM is an obvious answer.

  • With a conventional restoration, a temporary is placed inside a patient’s mouth for one to several weeks while the lab produces the restoration. After waiting one to several weeks, the patient returns to the office to have the temporary removed and the restoration bonded in place.

* CAD/CAM dentistry, or Chairside CAD/CAM, enables a clinician to design and create a restoration in less than an hour and bond it on the same day.

It all begins with a wand.

The Carestream Dental CS 3700 delivers a high-performance scanning experience.  Prestigious design—by Studio F. A. Porsche. Patient- and practitioner-centric workflows. Smart-shade matching. Touchscreen capabilities. 

It takes approximately a minute and a half to capture a digital impression of prepared teeth. An impression of the teeth in the opposite arch takes just 45 seconds.

What drives the process? An intraoral scanner is used to capture a direct optical impression. The scanner projects a light source onto the area to be scanned. The images are captured by imaging sensors and are processed by scanning software, which then produces a 3D surface model.

Shown above, one example from Carestream Dental: the CS 3700.

Find out how to choose the best one for a dental practice: https://www.benco.com/technology-and-equipment/cad-cam-dentistry/intraoral-scanners/

Next: Design and Produce

Formlabs creates powerful, affordable 3D printers for professionals

Once a digital image is captured, a crown is virtually designed and directed to a dentist’s in-office milling machine or 3-D printer. The results are shown at top and above.

According to Formlabs.com:

“3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) technologies create three-dimensional parts from computer-aided design (CAD) models by successively adding material layer by layer until physical part is created.

While 3D printing technologies have been around since the 1980s, recent advances in machinery, materials, and software have made 3D printing accessible to a wider range of businesses, enabling more and more companies to use tools previously limited to a few high-tech industries.”

How much do they cost and how to choose the best one for a dental practice? Learn here: https://www.benco.com/technology-and-equipment/cad-cam-dentistry/dental-3d-printer/

Ready for more?

WVU rising: dental school innovation center drives change

The dental school’s new innovation center is driving change—and numbers are rolling in to prove it. WVU’s Dr. Lauren Yura talks what’s happening behind the scenes to boost her alma mater’s national profile. 

It only recently turned two, but West Virginia University School of Dentistry’s Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation is already having a profound impact. The only clinic of its kind on the East Coast when it opened, it was one of just three nationwide in 2017 where students experience a real-world environment that operates much like a private practice and also get access to the latest technology. (Benco Dental was one of dozens of donors who helped bring it to life in partnership with the Center for Research and Education in Technology, Inc.)

West Virginia University School of Dentistry’s Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation was the only clinic of its kind on the East Coast when it opened. In 2017, it was one of just three nationwide where students experience a real-world environment that operates much like a private practice and also get access to the latest technology.

For starters, it’s a recruiting boon that’s shifting the student body’s demographics. The vast majority of dental students—about 80%—were West Virginians prior to the center’s opening. Today, about half come from out of state. With such a major shift, the school understandably felt compelled to start surveying applicants about what drew them. The results: 99% said the center was a major factor in their decisions to apply.

“Students say it’s the first time they feel like real dentists. They get to broaden themselves as clinicians through increased repetition and exposure to more materials. They also get exposed to practice management and what it means to deal with insurance, fee setting, and staff training.”

Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation Director and Assistant Professor, Dr. Lauren Yura

All of which, says Dr. Yura, is changing the way students transition. “They’re better prepared, no question. Since it’s a higher-end environment, it’s also influencing where’d they’d want to work, or what type of practice they’d create for themselves.” 

Time will tell, but as a proud WVU alum herself, Dr. Yura is clearly passionate about sending her students into the world as the best prepared graduates in the school’s history.

Dr. Lauren Yura (right) with a dental student at the Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation.