We are living in an amazing age of technology. Advances continue to be made almost every day in many different fields. The dental field has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of massive technological advances over the past 20 years. There is no question that the level of technology available to dentists today gives them the ability to provide an amazing level of care to their patients. However, if dentists want to give their patients the highest level of care that is currently available, they need to upgrade their current equipment and invest in a digital dental office.
What is digital dentistry?
Digital dentistry is basically the use of any device or technology in dentistry that has components that are controlled by computers or by digital means, as opposed to only being controlled by electrical or mechanical means. The following list shows the primary areas in which digital dentistry is used. All of these incorporate some form of digital components:
- Cavity diagnosis
- Computer aided manufacturing/computer aided design and intraoral imaging.
- Digital radiography
- Computer-aided implant dentistry
- Shade matching
- Photography: intraoral and extraoral
- Record management for patients and the practice
- TMJ and occlusion diagnosis and analysis
- Implant and surgical handpieces that are electric
Let’s take a look at the various pieces of equipment that are necessary for a dentist to have an office that is truly state-of-the-art.
All dentists already use computers to keep track of their appointments and their billing. However, today’s computers are capable of so much more than basic clerical work. Healthcare certified computers are fully equipped with chair-side work stations that a dentist can use in his operatory during procedures that are fairly complex. There are also special computers that are specially designed to perform administrative tasks much faster and more efficiently that the computers of yesterday.
– Monitors: LCD flat screen monitors provide a dental practice with outstanding resolution to be used for diagnostics and to educate patients about their condition. There are also touch screen monitors that are fast and simple to use. These touch screen monitors eliminate the need to keyboards and the mounts required to hold them. These crystal clear monitors are also capable of being mounted into a position so patients will be able to observe their own dental procedure being performed with the help of a dental intraoral camera. They can be securely installed using a dental monitor mounting system that is extremely durable. They are perfect for use in any treatment area.
– Wireless keyboards: For dentists that prefer the feel of a keyboard instead of a touch screen, there are wireless keyboards available with Bluetooth technology that are capable of minimizing interference created by wireless devices such as cell phones. It also helps to reduce the amount of dropped connections to the computer that frequently occur with wireless keyboards.
– Data backup, storage and protection: These are three things that are critical to every dental practice. Needless to say, dentists need to keep their clients information confidential. Losing the information because of a hard drive crash would also be devastating. There are many different methods to backup, store and protect data effectively. Using a cloud to do these things has become increasingly popular. Storing data in a cloud prevents all data stored there from being lost in the event of a hard drive crash of some other technical malfunction of the storage device.
– Ergonomic accessories: Many dentists do not have a lot of room to work with in their examination areas. In situations like these, it is important for the dentist to invest in ergonomic and space-saving products. Having these items will help a dentist to have a workspace that is flexible. Patients will be more comfortable. This is especially important in the area where treatments are performed. They can also allow employees to be more productive.
2. Digital radiography
There are two types of radiological examinations in dentistry. In an extraoral exam, the sensor or film is placed on the outside of the mouth. The sensor or film is placed inside the mouth for an intraoral exam. When digital radiography is used during dental procedures, it enables the dentist to save all of their images on a computer hard drive or in a cloud. This offers two big advantages over x-rays on film. First, the images on the monitor are able to be zoomed in on and enhanced. This helps diagnostics and makes it easier to communicate with patients. Also, it enables dental offices to easily transfer x-ray images electronically. This makes referrals and submitting insurance claims much easier.
3. Intraoral cameras
Intraoral cameras (IOCs) have been a remarkable invention that the dental community as a whole has been quick to embrace. An intraoral dental camera is an essential tool when it comes to strengthening the trust of patients by communicating visually. The Schick intraoral camera has become one of the most trusted and widely-used cameras in the dental profession. There are many websites where you can go to read intraoral camera reviews and to find out a specific intra oral camera price. There are many digital SLR cameras that are useful in dentistry. However, IOCs are the best type of camera to use to show a patient a clear image of what is going on inside their mouth while they are sitting in the chair. This enables the dentist to talk to the patient about treatment options with the patient having a better understanding of the situation. The images can then be easily saved to the file of the patient. These cameras have changed dental intraoral procedures forever.
There is no doubt that digital dentistry is here to stay. Those dentists that have not started to use these various pieces of technology in their practice will find themselves being left behind and losing patients to dentists that have already upgraded. The amount of time that digital technology can save a dentist and his or her staff is reason enough to upgrade.