Monday, November 4, 2013

Digital Dentistry

As the days of traditional dentistry pass us by and the evolution of dentistry becomes more of a reality in our day-to-day practice, we are surrounded with opportunities and options to advance with the times.

I've been fortunate to be approached with many opportunities to learn about digital dentistry, especially CAD/CAM dentistry. As I learn more about it, I am excited to know how much the quality of our practice can improve if we implement the new technology appropriately. As far as digital recording and scans, I have no doubt that it beats the traditional methods. Though, I do have my doubts when it comes to the artistic ability in fabrication of restorations.

I was trained with the notion that nothing replaces the artistic hands of a human being. To be placed in front of a milling machine and told that it can do just as good a job as a talented ceramist pushes my buttons a little bit. I have seen some really nice work done in the framework of digital fabrication, but i have seen AMAZING work done with hands. I'm torn on whether the technology is there yet to turn in our talented ceramists for a milling machine.

Although it maybe the nature of progress in our field, I keep wondering if it's time. Personally, I have not been convinced that it is. I would love to hear comments from those who have more experience with the digital world of dentistry and hear your opinions on this subject.

Thank you,

Mona Goodarzi, DDS


Anonymous said...

Traditional dentistry will never" pass us by "unless you let it. When you look at Cerecs on an X-ray that little white line is the margin which is composed of flowable (flaw-able) composite. Why not just put in a flowable composite. Any dentist who thinks the 120 micron cement gap is good is not a good dentist period. There is a marketing push for us to abandon "traditional" dentistry as there really is no money in it and with the falling dentist to patient ratio, the new ones will cave easier and are hence approached more to go to "digital dentistry". Tbe fact remains that this is a very difficult job and few are suited to do it well - there is no easy way to attain excellence other than by being excellent. It is imperative to run the balancing act of dentist income versus quality of work and benefit to the patient. That is not a tradition we as craftsmen should ever let pass us by. Just a thought. G in BC

Dr. Courtney Lavigne said...


This was a refreshing read! I think there isn't any doubt that CAD/CAM is the future of dentistry, but I think it's harder to do an excellent job with the technology than many people assume. It's easy to make a mediocre crown with it, but it's extremely difficult to make an excellent crown.

I'm not on board with CAD/CAM yet. I feel like there may be a time, but I'm still waiting for it. I trained under a master ceramist during the first summer of dental school, and he is still the technician I trust with my work. I look at the work I get back from him and I know I don't have the skills to produce the same from CAD/CAM, and I'm not ready to commit the amount of time it would take to get as close as possible to that.

My litmus test is whether or not I would choose to put one in my mouth over what my lab technician could provide me with. The answer is still no. When that changes, I'm in.

Great thoughts and nice post Mona!

Courtney Lavigne, DMD

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your comments. I can't say that i don't agree! I think i just needed confirmation :)
Thank you.

Lassensurf said...

I agree with everything above. I think it's a great technology and the machines CAN do good work (if we give it a good agressive prep), but like was said above, if I had a choice between a Emax Press and Emax CAD, I'd go Emax press from a lab. It's getting tough even using labs, because most labs are just scanning and milling their crowns anyway (though with much better skill and consistency than I or my staff my be able to do).

Someday it'll be there, but it's not quite there yet. But it fills a need and is getting better.


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