13 Feb Digital Dentistry And Looking After Our Patients
‘I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE AND THE FUTURE IS DIGITAL’
What is the point of dentistry? It is clearly flawed as, given time, it will almost always fail, so what is the point? *
Well, in my opinion the aim of dentistry is to identify our patients risk factors and reduce them to the point that they need as little dentistry as possible. In order to do this, we use a combination of x-rays, photos and record keeping to try and identify where our patients are heading with their oral health and to try and steer them in a direction that minimises their risk as much as possible. Sadly, a lot of the things we do are not very accurate in monitoring our patients and identifying if our patient’s mouths are deteriorating. We generally must wait until things get noticeably worse before recommending a course of action.
Digital dentistry is changing all of dentistry.
How does digital dentistry help?
Using our top of the range iTero intra oral scanner we can digitally scan your teeth to obtain an accurate baseline record of your teeth and gums. This record is then stored in the cloud and accessible at any time.
Subsequently, at each of your regular examinations we will aim to scan your mouth again although this time we can use the ‘Time Lapse’ feature of our iTero. This allows us to overlap the digital models and produce a heatmap of what has changed in the intervening time period.
This will allow us to:
- See if your teeth are wearing down over time. Grinding and abrasive toothpastes can cause the enamel to abrade down over time. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if this is happening?
- Observe if your teeth are moving and whether wearing a retainer would prevent them getting worse.
- Assess the gum levels around your teeth and note if you are losing bone around your teeth from gum disease.
- Produce a Simulation of how your teeth would look like if they were straightened.
- Produce duplicates of your teeth in case of accidents or trauma- many people don’t want their appearance to change if they happen to damage their teeth.
It is true to say that none of this is possible now. Knowing this we need to ensure that our digital scanner is used on a regular basis for as many of our patients as possible. I have seen the future and the future is digital.
So… how are we going to do this?
Given that I believe that digital dentistry is essential to looking after our patients I am very keen to incorporate this into your routine appointments at no significant increase in cost.
The reality though, is that the extra time and cost of the iTero is such that we will need to reorganise how we work in order to make this possible. Sadly, this will lead to large scale upheaval in how we work and see our patients. I ask now for you to forgive us for any inconvenience that this may cause and hope that you can see what a massive benefit this all will bring to how we look after you and your family.