This is CAD/CAM Dentistry today. It is exciting to be a part of it and help to shape how we treat our patients for the better. Remember, that if Orange County Choppers, over ten years ago were using this technology and although we liked the show, let's face it they weren't the smartest people. When many of my colleagues say that they prefer models and the traditional way we have been doing lab work, I see that they are reluctant to change, yet they will reply to my post on a smart phone while on voice recognition. We as an industry should be embracing and furthering this technology.
For the past year, I have been 95% modeless. That includes dental implant and orthodontic treatment. Only for the challenging full arch restorations do we use models, and they are printed not poured. Removable dentistry, which makes up a small part of my practice, we still do it the traditional way. That will soon be changing also though with the development of removable dentistry pucks.
CAD/CAM dentistry does not eliminate the need for a dental lab technician. I say it will create more jobs and opportunities in the field as there will be dental offices with their own lab techs on site, just like a hygienist, the lab tech will be an integral part of the dental team. That is a great development for our economy as well as our patients. It will actually make dentists better dentists, especially when you have to draw your own margin. When your preparation is on the screen, and you can evaluate it from 360 degrees, it is sometimes humbling and if you are driven, you will learn and hone your skills. This technology will make dentists better clinicians.
The picture as I posted is an anterior veneer that the patient fractured. She is a busy person, and although she already went through the procedure of having temporaries made when she originally had the laminates, she was totally blown away that we were able to replace the laminate in an hour with perfect results. Our culture has evolved and precision, speed and comfort will permeate. I view practicing dentistry without CAD/CAM like going back to the telephone line modem. It can be done, but why would you?
I expect more companies to be bringing products, techniques and technology to the industry. As this happens, it will truly be interesting to see where dentistry will be in the next decade. I am a willing participant in this journey and hope to inspire and also learn from others as we travel into the future.