Dr. Naisargi Shah
Professor and Head of Department,
Department of Prosthodontics and Crown & Bridge,
T.P.C. T’s Terna Dental College, Navi Mumbai
The technological changes taking place are truly revolutionizing the way dentistry is practiced and the manner in which laboratories are fabricating restorations. It has aided dentists’ efforts to ensure that the patient will receive best possible treatment under the most comfortable circumstances.
A variety of dental restorative aspects like diagnosis, rehabilitation, and maintenance of patients with complex clinical conditions have been drastically improved through the digitalized techniques compared to old conventional procedures. Digitalization influences number of factors like clinical aspects, student education, patient motivation, laboratory procedures, practice management and dental research. The availability of software has also amplified the role of chairside computers by successfully integrating clinical features with corresponding administrative functions and financial management.
CAD/CAM and intraoral imaging are the main fields of digital dentistry, both laboratory and clinician-controlled, dental caries diagnosis, computer-aided implant dentistry, digital radiography including computed cone beam tomography, lasers, digital shade matching, intraoral and extraoral photography, practise and patient record management, including digital education of patients. All types of CAD/CAM systems consist of three basic components, a digitalization tool or scanner that converts the geometry into the digital data, a computer software that processes this data and a production technology that converts the data set into the desired product. Digitalization instrument is an intraoral-camera, which replaces the conventional impression. Various systems available in market for digital impressions. They vary from each other in terms of working principle, light source, necessity of powder coating spray, operative process and output file format. It takes less time for re-scans as only missing and unacceptable areas are rescanned. This is more patient friendly due to absence of tray fit, taste of material and setting time of the impression material. These digitalized procedures are termed as on the spot consultation that builds trust, saves time and contributes for pronounced patient motivation. The images captured can be saved and used for future treatment and other purposes. Digitalized radiography include radio-visiography, CBCT, cephalometrics and OPG. It is possible to store and share these digital images to dental laboratory and to work on a comprehensive treatment plan.
As we all are aware of the current introduction of Virtual Articulators and Jaw movement analyser helps us in precisely measuring the virtual condylar and incisal guidance. These are kinematically able to design prosthesis by simulating the mandibular movement. It calculates specific sites where opposing teeth come in contact during mandibular animation so that specific masticatory movement could be simulated.
Digitalization in prosthodontics also includes aspects such as Rapid prototyping, Digital shade matching, TMJ Analysis and diagnosis of musculoskeletal disorders and occlusal correction (T-Scan). It can also used in dental material testing using Finite Element Analysis(FEA).
Progressive application of digitalization in different specialities of dentistry will pace future of contemporary dentistry. Dental practice would be more convenient for both dentist and patients if the above discussed technologies are wisely implemented. Dental professionals must go hand-in-hand with the newfound advancement all around the world and same holds true for digitalization as it continues to prove to ease the dentists as well as the patients.
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Citations: Shah N. Digitalization in Prosthodontics. J Prosthodont Dent Mater 2021;2(2):1-2.