The new trend in dental technology that has proven in recent years to be on the market to stay is that of digital acquisition technology. The earliest precursor to this tech in terms of function was CEREC—Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics—which was inexplicably invented in the late 1980s despite what seems like an impossible period for such an advancement. Also referred to as Ceramic Reconstruction, these products have evolved very rapidly over tie. By the late ‘90s, companies were already beginning to experiment with the producing innovative new variants on the technology.
Around the turn of the twenty-first century, the market value of computers dropped precipitately, and at the same time, consumers witnessed impeccable achievements with computers apropos of processing power to an extent that pop culture and TV now depict processors that no longer Halt and Catch Fire—at least, not on command. Antiquated code puns and computer jokes aside, this progress in creativity and engineering led to the invention of the E4D, which was the next step in CAD/CAM evolution. Obviously, this made marked enhancements on the process of intraoral capture while many companies scrambled to the race to make more improvements and put out their own new models. E4D, of course, has been the leading innovator in this regard however, and now, the next phase in this evolution has arrived.
Dental Product Reports is now stating that more than 20% of dentists’ offices are now using impression systems with some kind of digital acquisition technology. Each year, that figure grows, and more offices take to the latest digital impression CAD/CAM. More and more dentists are relying on these systems for CAD/CAM dentistry based on 3D renderings of patients’ teeth and gingival tissue, and as such, the popularity of these cutting-edge systems is increasing. Market trends, therefore, are indicating faster proliferation of digital impression systems in the near future.
Part of the appeal stems from the incredible accuracy of the renderings that these systems generate. In addition to this, these new systems inherently simplify the entire impression process, which is of considerable value to many practitioners who can relate to the classically American adage, “time is money.” They decrease the amount of time spent on such procedures and even facilitate digital integration with dental labs, also invaluable. Impression materials have made patients uncomfortable for years, too, so many dentists can distinguish their offices from others by using these digital impression systems to eliminate that discomfort on the parts of patients, still increasing the accuracy of digital models in the process.
Digital impression systems provide a non-invasive means by which to render these intraoral models and make them available for a myriad of orthodontic or restorative necessities. These yield scans for which dentists and nurses don’t have to wait because they’re ready immediately; moreover, since the files containing these impressions are themselves digital, the files can simply be transferred chairside to a CAD/CAM or sent directly to a dental lab with ease, eliminating the need for offices to concern themselves with shipping or pouring models.
The new trend is rapidly changing the market and creating new means by which to operate a practice. Offices can now diminish the frequency of clinical errors and complete more cases per day, which directly impacts an office’s bottom line in a positive way. For these reasons, the market has seen an ostensible uptick in the purchase of digital impression systems, qualifying it as a game changer already, and these systems are projected to proliferate even faster in 2017.
About the Author:
Dr. Melissa Scaggs received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from Texas Tech University in 1996. She continued her education with The University of Texas at San Antonio where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2000 and graduated Cum Laude. But she didn’t stop there! Dr. Scaggs pursued her Advanced Education in General Dentistry at Baylor College of Dentistry and graduated in 2001. You can visit her website for more information!