Technology has revolutionized the world of dentistry. Digital dentistry refers to the use of dental techniques or devices that incorporate digital or computer controlled competence to carry out dental procedures rather than using mechanical or electrical tools. Today, it has given innovative ideas and passion for dentists. This development took place more than a decade ago, but just like every revolution, it took time to create its era. Today Digital dentistry is not only limited to digital radiography. Digital dentistry now includes having digital patient records, communication with the patient for creating appointments and sending reminders, intraoral scanning, computer-aided designs- computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), digital models, Computerized case presentation, electronic prescriptions, digital impressions, 3-D Cone Beam CT(CBCT) of the craniofacial region for surgical implant, endodontic and orthodontic cases.
Today, in the world of digitalization and technology, it is crucial for the dentists to stay active on a social media platform. References and reviews are becoming the most powerful marketing tool to maximize the potential for the practice, attracting and maintaining patients. Nowadays patients think that dentist showing engagement with these online reviews is more caring for the patients. Now there is a rising trend of teledentistry, in which there is the ability to provide dental consultation and treatment planning to the patients using technology. This will bridge the gap between the supply and demand for dentists. This can help the patient to have a consultation by a general or specialist dentist at a cost-effective rate even during after-hours.
Dentists must be very considerate about how to incorporate digitalization in practice to efficiently increase the potential of the practice. Professionals need to be educated about the technology that will be used in clinics to run digital dental practice successfully. Proper implementation will result in an excellent return on investment and increases patient satisfaction. Also, it is imperative to recognize the skills and talent of the office staff before digital dentistry is incorporated. Plans to implement new technology in office must be addressed multiple times, so they are ready for the change and work as a team to overcome challenges to develop excellent skills and workflow. One-on-one education helps overcome the fear to use the new technology. Each office faces challenges during the adoption process, but training staff rightly in choosing the right methods helps.
"Today, in the world of digitalization and technology, it is crucial for the dentists to stay active on a social media platform"
With proper training and implementation, digital dentistry improves the workflows, helps in better diagnosis, better treatment planning, better case acceptance and faster and better treatment completion at a more predictable rate. It becomes easier to refer the cases and cross consult by sending the images and radiographs by just a click. Dentists and dental technicians have a great bond and digitalization have helped in better communication between them, leading to more natural looking and detailed cases that provide better esthetics and treatment satisfaction which reduces the chair side time.
Digitalization is promising for the dentists and the patient. But offices have to follow all the HIPAA regulations and proper security systems still to avoid any breach into the systems. There should be good software backups in case there is a technology breakdown. Even though digitalization of the dental practice is expensive and involves a learning curve but in the long run, it will be very cost effective. Digital dentistry brings many advantages, and it clearly distinguishes from the conventional techniques.