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“-less” is More in the Digital Practice

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It’s interesting to look back through dental literature and see that “going digital” seemed to originally focus on going paperless, then on going x-ray-less and chemical-less (as chemicals pertained to processing x-rays), then it edged into going wireless. It seemed like a lot was being given up—for the good, of course—as the way things were always done was left by the wayside. And now going “-less” is more, and benefits both clinicians and patients.

All the digital connectivity in our daily lives makes it a normal experience to sit in the dental chair while an intraoral camera and an intraoral sensor document the current condition of the tissues and dentition. On a recent practice visit, I got a demo on the Schick 33 which offers clinicians very high-resolution images that can be adjusted to the patient’s and clinician’s specific diagnostic needs.  The unit comes with presets for general dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, and restorative dentistry, as well as personalized setting capabilities for multiple users. With three sensor sizes, to fit comfortably in any patient, replaceable cable technology, and easy-to-manage software, taking digital x-rays is seamless process. Patients are also getting used to digital pans and 3D treatment plans. A mere tap on a screen brings those images up and the dentist and patient can look at them and talk about them like they were standing in a gallery or museum, pointing at things, discussing treatment options, zooming in for a closer look, adjusting the color and contrast, plopping in a digital wax-up, etc. It just makes things look so much easier from the patient’s perspective. No rooting around through piles of records, no misplaced diagnoses or lab instructions. Communication is more effective and meaningful. Anything can be customized, whether it’s for the user’s benefit or the patient’s. Reports and images can be shared with colleagues, specialists, dental labs, and insurers instantly and seamlessly. Technical questions are answered quickly via chat, solutions are downloaded, and instructions are available 24/7.

Building the digital office, either from the ground up or piece by piece over time, with a company like Schick by Dentsply Sirona and their products brings the planning, not to mention the high level of service, into a very productive, comfortable, and reliable place where every “-less” will result in more.

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