Digital Technology is Revolutionising Workflows in Dentists' Practices and Dental Laboratories - a Central Theme of the IDS 2011
Dental digital technology - diagnostics with imaging methods - CAD/CAM dominates prosthetics and implantology - modern software for many applications in the practice and the laboratory - a main theme of the IDS
Digital technology is increasingly becoming a part of the day-to-day work of a dentist's practice and of a dental laboratory. This begins with the discrete control of most electrical equipment systems and continues through diagnostic imaging methods and beyond to state-of-the-art planning and design software. The increasingly powerful speciality software enables computer support with the implementation of complex therapy concepts, such as the planning and manufacturing of challenging prosthetics or implantological restorations as well as orthodontic apparatus. "The scientific and technological impact of digital technology has touched nearly every dental discipline in just a few years, revolutionizing methods used in practices and laboratories in ways that had never been seen before. The importance of digital processes for the opportunities of all segments of dentistry can be characterised cannot be overstated," says Dr. Martin Rickert, Chairman of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers (VDDI). "Dentists and dental technicians today have at their disposal advanced technology that with the support of diagnostics, examination and therapy planning - up to and including CAD/CAM production of even the most complex suprastructures - enables many work processes to be performed precisely and in less time, thus making them more economical then ever before."
Digital technology's dominance is by no means limited to spectacular imaging methods. It is also indispensable for the control of devices such as apex locators, drives or systems for root canal preparation or cleansing. Thanks to high-resolution intra-oral cameras, digital X-rays with image plate or CCD technology, computed tomography (CT) and digital volumetric tomography (DVT), dental diagnostics has achieved a level of performance that seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. Dentists are increasingly drawing on image review software that works with state-of-the-art algorithms for voxel analysis. Even cephalometric analyses can be performed today on the basis of digital remote X-ray images. With the appropriate computer networking and thanks to the international DICOM standard, which ensures compatibility between digital components regardless of manufacturer, all digital imaging methods offer every opportunity of modern patient consultation and documentation. This also establishes favourable conditions for the statutory proof of quality management in dental practices, which will be mandatory from 2011.
Beyond imaging diagnostics, digital design and manufacturing methods for therapy planning and dental production are also firmly established in most practices and laboratories. This has provided key stimulus to the disciplines of prosthetics and implantology, in particular. The CAD/CAM technology used here has been accompanied by intensive research and development work on the part of science and the dental industry for more than ten years now. Today the three-dimensional scanning of the surfaces of the prepared teeth and possibly the adjacent teeth and antagonists can be performed extra-orally on the model using a laser scanner as part of a CAD/CAM-supported manufacturing process for dental restorations. Another recent development is that this process can alternatively be accomplished by means of purely optical intra-oral digitisation, in which case a conventional impression of the clinical situation is not required. The option for an intra-oral digital impression is already available for many areas of prosthetic restoration, and is becoming increasingly available for implant prosthetics, too. In addition, current digital planning methods strengthen the already close cooperation between dentist and dental technician in prosthetic or implantological therapeutic measures, thus resulting in a per se improvement of quality to the benefit of the patient. Dentists, dental technicians and surgery staff can optimally acquaint themselves with the state of the art in all aspects of digital technology and receive advice from competent manufacturers at the International Dental Show (IDS), which takes place in Cologne from 22nd to 26th March 2011.
Besides the speciality software for diagnostics, therapy planning and dental design and manufacturing, a variety of other programs for such diverse tasks as patient management, billing, financial accounting, logistics, quality management, etc. are available to dental practices and dental laboratories. There is a suitable digital solution for practically every business need. This is particularly true for communication, which is becoming increasingly important. Functional intranet and Internet structures are a must for dental businesses. For example, complete prosthesis data sets can be transmitted digitally to the industrial centres, which then use CNC milling or laser sintering methods to produce the corresponding restoration - up to and including complex suprastructures - in the chosen material, leaving the dental technician in the lab more time for aesthetic finishing work. Trade visitors will have a unique opportunity to gain a comprehensive overview of the latest concepts in digital CAD/CAM technology as they walk through the IDS 2011.
"From 22nd to 26th March 2011, the International Dental Show in Cologne - the world's largest trade fair for dental medicine and dental technology - will provide all visitors from dental practices and dental laboratories an ideal opportunity to talk to specialists from the exhibiting companies, experts and experienced users. Here, they will be able to address the whole spectrum of modern digital methods and current developments in this advanced technology," says Dr. Markus Heibach, President of the VDDI.
IDS takes place in Cologne every two years and is organized by the GFDI Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Dental-Industrie mbH, the commercial enterprise of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers (VDDI) and staged by Koelnmesse GmbH, Cologne.
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