Dental Tribune USA

Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that puts the care in healthcare

By Dr. Howard Gluckman
October 01, 2021

Digital dentistry and the digital workflow have become a critical part of our practice. One of the main reasons for this is the ability for us to better serve our patients on many fronts. From diagnosis to communicating treatment plans to fabrication of materials needed for surgery and prosthetics, digital dentistry has become essential and indispensable.

Digital dentistry begins with the end in mind. DSD forms a key part of our diagnostic abilities to ensure the patient-centric outcome. Digital photography is an essential function alongside another big part, which is the use of CBCT as well as intraoral scans.

All of these provide us with the essential information and documentation required for our procedures. The information that we collect digitally then allows us to draw up treatment plans and then communicate them with the patient or with other practitioners or specialists. It also allows asynchronous communication with other practitioners in order to share and treatment plan or seek advice from other experts in order to achieve the best results possible.

As critical as all this initial documentation and treatment planning is, it is even more critical that we are able to transfer all the planned treatment with precision and accuracy into the oral cavity. Static guided surgery is one way of transferring our plans; however, this treatment option does not allow us to modify this plan should we find the need for minor or even major changes once one we begin the treatment.

Dynamic navigation or dynamic guided surgery like the Navident System not only provides the accuracy needed, it also allows for real-time modification of a plan to best suit the patient’s needs. This technology is not only available for most modes of surgery but also for endodontics and endodontic surgery. This has been an absolute game changer for our practices and for our patients, and it has further enhanced our abilities to provide the most sophisticated treatment possible.

It has dispensed with the need for laboratory-made guides and has put all the planning and execution in my own hands, thus allowing me to be in control of all aspects from design to execution. Being able to modify treatment on the fly is an incredibly powerful tool. In most static guides one is forced to work with what is provided and if it does not work for any reason you are then either forced to abandon the procedure and come back another day or you go back to conventional brain-guided treatment. I prefer the ability to adapt my plan and continue to use the technology that’s available to continue with my treatment, and all of my patients are hugely appreciative of that fact.

Converting one’s practice to a digital practice is not an easy task. It requires upskilling both you and your staff. It requires substantial investment in your practice. However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. What is most important is the excitement and sense of adventure that it creates for everyone in the practice. It has been a wonderful journey, and I look forward to the future.

It is incredible to be practicing in the digital age.

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