We frequently talk about CAD, 3D printing technology and how advancements have changed the way products are designed and manufactured. Dentistry was an early adopter of 3D printing technology due to the highly customizable nature of it. While many dentist offices rely on third-party labs to help design and manufacture parts and pieces, some offices are bringing the technology in-house to better serve their patients. Technology and dentistry are merging to create an area referred to as ‘digital dentistry’.
What is digital dentistry?
Digital dentistry encompasses any digital or computer-based technology that your dental professional may use to examine, diagnose, and treat the health of your mouth. Digital dentistry is transforming just about every aspect of professional oral care from the moment you check in to your appointment to when your dental professionals assess your oral health, to the diagnosis and treatment of any conditions or diseases you may have, to how your dental professional follows-up and interacts with you between appointments. (Colgate)
Talking Digital Dentistry with Dr. Wade Takenishi, DDS
We recently had a chance to talk with a local dentist here in Honolulu, Dr. Wade Takenishi, DDS about the recent adoption of digital dentistry into his office and how it has transformed patient care.
Can you please explain how the digital dentistry process works in your office?
Digital works on different levels.
First, conversion for our office was required by moving files and x-rays to a digital format. It’s faster and more accurate. X-rays used to take time processing and now it’s instant. Sending information to referrals is easier and cleaner.
How has moving your digital operations in-house sped up the treatment timeline for your patients?
Second is in the treatment arena. This part of it just comes down to how much of it you want to take on. For our office, we have gone digital for scanning teeth. It allows for a quicker workflow for orthodontic treatment. We do crowns in office where we scan the prepared teeth and then mill out the crowns. This allows us to produce crowns in office and patients to not have to wear temporary crowns and come back in 1 to 2 weeks. It allows us better control for esthetics for front teeth crowns because we can make modifications on site.
Do you use 3D digital images for 3D printing prosthesis purposes?
Digital for night guards has allowed us to scan the patients’ teeth and print guards and get it back to the patient in days rather than weeks. Having the digital file means replacement of the night guard is easier and faster.
3D printing allows us to print temporaries if we need them. This includes everything from night guards, models for aligners or for partials, dentures, and even implant surgical guides.
What are the top three benefits you have experienced with digital dentistry?
The top three benefits are all patient driven; more convenience, more accuracy, and better overall patient experience.
Can you share feedback you have received from clients about your in-house digital dentistry offering?
Offering same day crowns really surprised me as patients were so happy about it. Now if my 3D mill goes down, patients are upset if they have to come back or if they need to wear a temporary even if it’s only for a day or two.
Patients have just been amazed with the ability to utilize 3D scanning instead of putting the traditional goopy stuff in their mouth to make a mold. I’m amazed that we can make a crown in just a single visit. Since a lot of the 3D Printed operations are back of the house processing, patients aren’t aware of what goes into the process for their treatment.
Overall, it is good and bad. By being at the forefront of technology, you run into problems with the new technology. You are almost a beta tester in some respects without getting compensated for it. But being able to push the limits of what we can do offers patients better options and better treatment.
Dr. Wade Takenishi
Honolulu dentist, Dr. Wade Takenishi and his staff are dedicated to providing high quality dental care. Dr. Wade has been featured in Honolulu Magazine’s 2014 Best Dentists in Hawaii. He has also been recognized as one of Honolulu’s best dentist in Honolulu Magazine’s 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 issues. Our goal is to treat patients the way we treat our own family, in a comfortable and safe environment. We provide comprehensive dental care for people of all ages. With general, cosmetic, and restorative services, we provide a wide scope of care to meet your family’s complete dental needs.
Learn more about Dr. Wade Takenishi and his dental practice on his website.
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.