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A Brief Introduction to Digital Dentistry

In recent years, the dental industry has evolved from its original humble beginnings to now being almost 100% digitalized. A few examples of digital components include CAD/CAM, the integration and utilization of 3D printing technology, and intraoral scanning systems. Conventional and digital techniques and components all have their advantages and disadvantages, it is quite evident that digital components and techniques will reign superior. Continue reading to learn more about the digital dentistry trend.


In the dental industry, the term “digital dentistry” is an umbrella term that mainly relates to computer aided design, intraoral scanning systems, computer aided manufacturing, and 3D printing techniques and components technology.

Together, all of these individual aspects of digital-based dentistry work together for the purpose and intent of the transferring of information between our physical world and the digital world in a quick and efficient manner and to ensure the comfort of patients while boosting their outcome.

Let’s take the example of a patient cast model. First, the intraoral scanning system obtains the model taken from the patient. It collects the information and then transitions it into a type of replica that is digital in nature. Then, that data is stored and saved as a type of digital file that may be printed into a physical copy – if need be. That file is then integrated into a software program (CAD/CAM). It is when using this software that a dentist is able to making modifications – which include preset boundaries, per patient. Once finished, 3D printing is then used to create a physical reproduction of that which was accessed on the modification software.

The above-mentioned process is just one example of how digital dentistry is used. The actual capabilities of the technology can vary from one procedure to another – from creating an in-office single crown to creating an entire set of monolithic dentures.

In most instances, components of the digital dentistry world are used for the foundation of creating or producing dental appliances and other devices; however, digital dentistry is also used for learning various types of information and also for the sharing of various types of information with others.

Today, all relevant information pertaining to patients and procedures may be stored in a digitalized type of manner. Long gone are the days when a dental practice is completely dependent upon physical files that must be physically stored and may be physically touched (tangible). As a result of this, information may be stored and shared – seamlessly – with the greatest effort of ease. All it takes is a little stroke or two on a computer, tablet, or smartphone in order to gain immediate access to a wealth of information. Files may be easily shared – regardless of location.

By not having the need for physical space to store patient files and other types of documents, practices are not only saving money, but they no longer have to worry over files experiencing damage or deterioration while being stored.

In the same respect, if a mistake is made on the file, it can be much easier resolved when it is a digital file rather than a physical file. If physical files experience a mistake, the individual responsible for creating that entry would have to completely start over to make sure that the proper information is within the file.

Digital dentistry offers many practitioners many advancements from the common, conventional methods previously utilized in the industry. The downfalls – though not much – are the fact that the costs associated with start-ups are typically high, the purchase of the necessary equipment may prove costly, and the training of the personnel within a practice may be expensive and time-consuming.

The truth of the matter is, though, that once a practice gets past all of this, digital dentistry components and techniques will aid in saving money, reducing mistakes, increasing the comfort level of patients, and optimizing the success of the practice.

If you have an interest in digital dentistry, we highly recommend getting involved as quickly as possible. Not only will your practice start experiencing many benefits, but you will discover that you are among the few in the industry that have a competitive edge. If you are in need of new equipment – such as dental handpieces and sterilization machines – we here at Hughes Dental encourage you to take a look around at our product pages. In addition to having a wide range of products at the most competitive prices, we also offer handpiece maintenance and repair services. To learn more, you may contact us now by calling: 1-800-773-0800

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