Q: What does it mean to be a fully digital practice in 2018?
A: In my practice, what it really means to be fully digital is more than just one element, such as intraoral scanning, photography, video, or digital manufacturing processes. What it truly means to be digital, in my mind, is the integration of how all these systems are working together—because one system
alone is not the complete package. The best example of this is how we combine systems for taking high-resolution photos, intraoral scans, and 3D x-rays in the office, and then merge all of this information
together into a “digital ecosystem.” The systems that we use in order to categorize a library of this digital information are just as important as how we actually use the information when it comes to patient care and planning a case.
Q: Do you see the younger generation of dentists being more eager to make investments in digital technology?
A: I’m one of the last generations of dentists who knew the world before the internet and technology, and
my education in both college and dental school was heavily built on technology. We had online classes and information being posted online. It’s very similar to how students are taught today. They are comfortable using computers because they’re a cornerstone of their learning process. The biggest issue I see between the older and younger generation of dentists is the intimidation of using a computer and acquiring basic computer skills. I’m in business with my father, and when we first began using digital dentistry and digital tools, his biggest challenge was the computer. He understood how to work on a screen and analyze a scan or margin, but it was the basic computer skills that threw him. Because newer dentists have grown up using computers, it’s second nature to them to perform dentistry using those same fundamental tools.
Q: What advice do you have for dentists who may not feel that investing in digital technology is worthwhile?
A: They should get scanners as soon as possible and begin building their patient libraries. My practice has been scanning for several years, and we have scans from our patients from 4 years ago, 3 years ago, 2 years ago, this year. All of that information is very useful in the future because it’s kept digitally, which means it can be digitally reproduced at the same quality as when it was fi rst taken. The digital patient library represents how technology is evolving to become an incredible diagnostic tool for digital dentists.