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Digital developments on show at the International Dental Show (IDS) 2013 — CAD/CAM technology in the spotlight

Innovations in the CAD/CAM sector — Extending the digital process chain — Advances in intraoral scanners and planning software — a key topic at IDS 2013

Since the 1980s, digital technology has been finding its way into dental medicine more and more. In the beginning, computer-assisted methods were used to manufacture glass-ceramic inlays and crowns. Later, stereolithography was used to make guides for navigated implantation. Today advances in the development of CAD/CAM (computer-aided design / computer-aided manufacturing) have reached just about every aspect of dentistry and in some cases caused significant changes. The state-of-the-art in CAD/CAM will be on display at the International Dental Show (IDS) in Cologne from 12th to 16th March 2013.    
While not everything is digital and conventional techniques are certainly still justified, progress continues to advance at a rapid pace. This momentum is something to be embraced. After all, it’s always a good idea to stay well-informed about the latest developments. That’s the only way to determine which innovations are important for one’s own work. At IDS, dentists will discover how the possibilities of CAD/CAM technologies can optimise daily work in their practices — regardless of whether the practice already uses integrated digital processes or plans to do so in the future. In some cases, dental technicians have been benefiting from change for years. As far as they are concerned, the innovations that will be presented at IDS represent an opportunity to expand the range of services they offer at their own laboratories.   
Regardless of whether the issue is computer-aided manufacturing processes, new materials or advanced milling machines — high tech is becoming an increasingly important factor in lab work. Planning and preparation processes are becoming more detailed and goal-oriented. The virtual process chain actually starts with the dentist’s chair. First, digital impressions of the patient’s teeth are made using an oral scanner. The data is then transferred, a virtual design is made using CAD planning software and finally a precise visualization of the functional and aesthetic results are displayed. And all this take place before the first steps in treatment!   
These techniques not only affect collaboration between the practice and the laboratory but also result in an immediate benefit for the patient. Intraoral scanners, for example, are very popular because they eliminate the need to take impressions using a moulding compound — a process that is rather uncomfortable for some patients. In particular, for patients who are especially anxious, this could be the decisive criteria that enables them to overcome their fear of a visit to the dentist. The intraoral scanner market is diverse. Thanks to different functional principles and different ways of handling the instrument, the no-contact impression technique seems to have enormous potential. In addition to generating patient loyalty, it also makes collaboration between dentists and dental technicians particularly efficient.   
The latest planning tools also contribute to successful dentist/technician cooperation. With these tools, a virtual preview of the planned dental prosthetic can be created. In other words, an important decision-making aid is now in the hands of the patient. After all, it’s easier to convince someone of the benefits of a particular treatment, if they have the desired results before their eyes. The appropriate software can thus provide valuable assistance during consultations, which is an advantage for both the dentist and the technician.   
“Developments in the CAD/CAM sector are making great strides,” says Dr. Markus Heibach, Executive Director of the VDDI. “Whether it’s materials, software, CAM modules or the networking of the individual components and processes, all of the relevant innovations will be presented at the International Dental Show in Cologne. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to go directly to trade fair stands, where they’ll get first hand information and be able to discuss important issues with manufacturers and experts.”   
The International Dental Show (IDS) is held in Cologne every two years. It is organized by the GFDI — the Society for the Promotion of the Dental Industry, the commercial enterprise of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers (VDDI) — and staged by Koelnmesse GmbH, Cologne.   
Note for editorial offices:   
Photos from the last IDS Cologne are available in our image database on the Internet (www.ids-cologne.de) in the section “Press”).   
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