Dr. Justin Moody discusses how to make the best impression on patients
There was a time when dentists were asked about about digital X-rays, and their responses were, “Won’t catch on,” or “I’d never be able to afford that.” Now, the numbers of digital offices are growing steadily. Recently, I have been asking my colleagues about digital impressions, and the answers are nearly the same.
In my opinion, history will repeat itself again; the move to digital impressions has been somewhat slower in part due to the very rapidly changing technology that creates the fear of buying a product when you think the next version will debut shortly thereafter. I have said in the past that technology is only worth the investment if it can truly make your life more efficient; hence, more profitable.
Sometimes we get caught up in how new treatment options can make us more money, but we must always remember the most important part of our practice — the patient. I have found that my patients not only want this technology, but will embrace it, and tell the world about it. When impressions are involved, shorter clinical appointments, no gooey impression material, and less remakes are what the patient understands and is now demanding it in today’s world.
In my offices, the 3Shape Trios® intraoral scanner and the PlanScan™ (Planmeca E4D Technologies) are an integral part of my daily digital workflow. When placing implants in the esthetic zone, every patient in my office receives an i-CAT® FLX (Imaging Sciences International) 3D image as well as a full arch digital impression. With this data, I am able to treatment plan the case, present the treatment options to the patient, and fabricate models and surgical guides in one patient visit. Using Tx STUDIO™ from Anatomage, I am able to seamlessly merge these digital data for guided surgery, which is more efficient and safer for the patient.
My use of digital impressions does not stop there; we use it to scan implants via scan bodies for digital communication with the laboratory. It is here that this technology has made the biggest difference in my practice — the ability to take a digital impression of an implant scan body and then to send this to a lab for fabrication of a patient-specific abutment or crown is simply amazing. Implant manufacturers such as BioHorizons® have helped this process speed up with their willingness to share files about their products and provide the laboratories with items such as titanium bases with Laser-Lok® for the custom abutment.
The quality of the work I get back from ProSmiles Dental Studio and the speed at which the technology makes this happen are things that I would not give up in my practice. And I haven’t even touched on its use with real teeth. Don’t sit on the fence, and wait for the technology to stabilize because it won’t. Buy it, embrace it, and use it. You won’t be sorry.