We have had the privilege of incorporating digital technology within our dental practice over the last few years which has enabled us to modernise and update the way in which many of our dental treatments are provided. Advanced dental procedures such as dental implants, crowns, veneers and orthodontics are all influenced by the accuracy of the moulds and models produced of the patient’s mouth.
The digital workflow includes intra-oral scanning, restoration design and CAD/CAM milling of dental prostheses. In this blog I will briefly discuss how the digital workflow has influenced the way we provide our dental treatment for our patients at the clinic.
Digital Intra-oral scanning
This has eliminated the need to take moulds of teeth using impression materials in most clinical situations. The main benefits of this to the patient are:
1 – A more comfortable process when taking records of the mouth as no impression material or trays are used therefore, no feeling of ‘choking’.
2 – The digital scan is very accurate and is much quicker to process for the laboratory work to commence.
3 – The higher level of accuracy in most cases enables us to reproduce a more accurate working model of the patient’s mouth.
The images above are screenshots from some example intra-oral scans that we have taken and used to manufacture precision milled restorations for our patients. This technology enables us to match the colours of the adjacent teeth with a higher level of accuracy when compared with the more traditional techniques as well as providing a higher standard of restoration.
Digital design and CAD/CAM milling
Once all of the digital information has been acquired from the patient’s mouth in the dental clinic, this is electronically sent to our laboratory for the manufacturing stages to commence. Our laboratory work is managed by Stephen Green who has a wealth of experience in prosthetic work associated with dentistry. The digital scans enable the laboratory team to design the restorations via a digital approach therefore, every bit of anatomical detail and tooth dimensions can be controlled to the nearest 4-5 microns for absolute precision.
The digital design is then communicated electronically with the milling machines to manufacture fully ceramic restorations as in the picture above.
Digital dentistry simplifies most dental procedure for the patients. However, this is not the only benefit of using digital technology in dentistry. At our clinic we have found that the digital workflow has enabled us to have more freedom when designing our patient’s restorations. This has allowed for even more bespoke and well fitting restorations within the patient’s mouth.
Although traditional techniques continue to provide very good restorations, we feel that the digital process has improved the quality even further and has enabled procedures to be performed even more precisely than ever before.
Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)