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If you think an intra oral scanner is just an impression taking tool, you are very much mistaken.

The digital world surrounds us, with almost half of the world's population connected to the internet via phones, computers, and tablets.

In the past decade, technology and digitisation has transformed every industry, as they strive to digitise their core processes to perform better in a dynamic business environment. So why do mainstream dentistry and dentists still cling on to the analogue world instead of embracing new technologies, discovering how they are shaping our future and reaping the rewards (Fig. 1)?

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The benefits of going digital

There are many other hidden benefits to the humble scanner:

  • Avoiding costly remakes. The laboratory can now review your scans before or at the design stage and provide feedback with screenshots and share design files prior to production

  • No more 'turnaround time' issues. The laboratory receives your work as fast as your internet can deliver it

  • Reduced postal and material costs with an average saving of £5-7 per case

  • Same day replacement for accidental chipped or broken crowns milled identically to the original.

The environmental issues facing humanity today are indisputable, with a major focus on deforestation, air pollution, and waste disposal. Going digital will have a positive effect on the ethical impact of your business, reduce your carbon footprint and lower your contribution to landfill, gypsum being one of the largest polluting substances that the dental industry produces.

The benefits of going digital are endless, we are touching on but a few. However, the most important person in all of this is the patient and their dental experience. Did you know that 70% of the UK population have some degree of imbrication? Aligner simulation will take them on a visual journey in the chair. Showcase the 'art of the possible', share the powerful dream of what 'could be' and increase your sales potential (Fig. 2).

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We have seen an exponential increase in medico-legal cases driven by the rise in implantology. Twenty-five years ago, implantology had few diagnostic tools, and was restricted to specialist referral practices. Now every high street offers dental implants.

Digitisation now allows us to combine CBCT with 3D IOS and OPG. Using these fabulous tools, we can accurately plan. Once planned we can 3D print highly accurate surgical guides that produce predictable outcomes and minimise the probability of misplacement.

Patients deserve science and precision using these tools, sharing the case planning with them through effective communication increases confidence and promotes trust. Fail to plan = plan to fail. No one ever becomes successful through being average, using these tools there is no excuse for mediocrity (Fig. 3).

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Digital implant planning

We live in an age where digital technologies are redefining how we live and work, transforming enterprises, societies, and everything in between.

So where do we go from here? The only way forward is for us to harmonise with technology to propagate more innovative, agile, and adaptable economies and enterprises in the dental industry.

You do not need a scanner. If you are content with the work you do, don't own a smartphone or computer, or don't want to substantially improve your income or invest in your future. For everyone else, maybe it's time to 'hang up the drill', venture out of the dental cave and embrace one thing that is inevitable and constant, and that is change - a digital one.

At ukdentech we know it's a cost. We understand there is a learning curve. We understand you're busy, and we understand that most people will want to turn it on without reading the manual. We have one of the best training environments in the UK and will hand hold you through the change. We offer extensive case reviews that help you produce the optimum treatment plan, and our case assessment team meet daily to problem solve difficult or complex cases to produce the perfect outcome for you and your patient.

A supportive partnership with ukdentech will help grow your personal practice. It's time to make the investment in your future. A digital future.

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