I started in digital dentistry approximately 12 years ago with the introduction of iTero 2nd generation scanners in our practice. At the time, these scanners would capture 1 single image at a time and although cumbersome, the accuracy was very high. Over the years we transitioned to Trios and Medit and the addition of a full digital lab on site that is able to offer full range of services such as implant crowns, abutments and full arch prosthetics.
I often get asked about a starting point into digital dentistry from dentists wishing to start in the digital workflow. Often record taking involves a CT scan of your patient, an impression (PVS or intraoral scan) and good photography. Next, we are able to proceed to the surgical and prosthetic planning phase in our design software. This can be done in Exoplan for single teeth all the way to full arch planning in CodiagnostiX. Finally, the design is brought to our 3D printers or milling options ready for the surgical phase appointments.
Below we describe the various levels in the digital journey, depending on your physical lab space and needs, you may elect to do some portions of this yourself or work directly with a digital lab such as ours.
Level 1 begins with pre-op photos of your patient. These are done at smiling, at rest , retracted: with/without removable prosthesis and are always taken at eye level with the patient.
Level 2: Digital Smile Design
This level combines the patient's current smile captured with the photos you took and Digital Smile Design (DSD) of your projected changes. You can use free software like keynote, powerpoint , or paid software like photoshop. Other examples include: Smile design pro, 3shape smile design. This leads to a virtual wax-up that can be printed or milled for patient to try in.
In part 2 of our blog we will be discussing levels 3 and up in the digital workflow. Stay tuned