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Why your patients love digital technology

Interview with 3Shape founder, Tais Clausen

How has digital dentistry impacted patients and care?

One of the most important benefits of TRIOS® and intraoral scanners, in general, is improving the patient experience. We have all been to the dentist and at one time or another and needed to take an impression. It’s not fun. The ability to offer digital impressions instead has become a strong selling point for practices.

We published a story not too long ago about patient gagging fears. This is a serious and very real problem for dentists. The American Dental Association reported that 7.5% of patients almost-always gag when they visit a dentist. Because of that, people are afraid to go to the dentist. Imagine as a business owner, losing nearly one in ten customers because they are scared of you.

At last year’s Scandefa Dental Conference in Bella Center, a 3Shape Academy instructor, Morten Ryde Holm-Hansen, performed an intraoral scan using TRIOS® on a visiting dentist to the event. This dentist had a severe gag reflex. So much so, that he had avoided dental treatment for many years. It showed in the condition of his mouth, which was unusual for a fellow professional.

Morten was able to complete the intraoral scan by stopping and starting a few times, taking his time to give the dentist a break to relax. The dentist was needless to say, overwhelmed by the results. Especially in terms of soothing his gagging fears. He was also angry for having spent the last 10 years using a competitor’s scanner. He now plans to get the much-needed work done on his mouth (and a TRIOS® intraoral scanner).

So patients prefer digital?

Taking digital impressions is more comfortable for patients. It is so much faster to digitally scan a mouth. It goes by so quick and there’s no plastic gooey mess. When we interviewed Dr. Gary Kaye in NYC, he credited TRIOS® and digital impression-taking as having a huge impact on his patient engagement. Saying, “Patients see this technology, they are happy to come, and more than that, they are happy to tell their friends about us.”

Times have changed. Intraoral scanning with TRIOS® is really very fast. Even compared to the market’s other intraoral scanners. In addition, dentists have never needed powder to scan with TRIOS®. So the whole process has become much faster and according to a patient we interviewed, “less threatening.” Although some intraoral scanners on the market still need to use powder to scan, I would guess that even those are easier to use as well.

In an interview we did with Dr. Simon Kold, an implant specialist in Denmark, he talked about his patients and TRIOS®, saying, “the technology catches the attention of patients as well - they ask questions and seem impressed. I think that they like the idea of being treated by a top-modern facility with the best equipment.”

So yes, TRIOS® and taking digital impressions definitely impresses patients and it makes the visit a much more comfortable experience for them. I guess you can say as a dentist, when you use TRIOS®, you make a great impression.

dental impression

Are there other advantages for patients?

The accuracy of digital impressions and the resulting crowns means a much better fitting restoration. The accuracy also cuts down on the need for remakes. So patient-visits are quicker and they don’t have to come back for adjustments. Also if you’re practicing same day dentistry you’re eliminating second visits.  So besides patient comfort, digital speed and accuracy are huge advantages.  

Another interesting benefit when working with 3D digital color impressions is that you now have the patient’s mouth on the big screen. You can show the patient what is going in their mouths.

You don’t know how many dentists have told us about their patients’ reactions to seeing their mouths onscreen for the very first time. And how many times the patient has ended up asking to have additional work done. Digital impressions are an important tool in helping to gain treatment acceptance from patients. 

When you factor in the time savings, in terms of scanning, design, and production, digital dentistry is just a more efficient way to work.

In terms of dentistry, what are some of the most important advantages of digital technology?

Dr. Alan Jurim in New York, a doctor who is really pushing the envelope in terms of digital dentistry, recently said that CAD/CAM and its insights are creating “a whole new form of dentistry.” I couldn’t agree more. Digital technology has become much more than just a tool. It has become a driver of new procedures, solutions and clinical insight.

Like other industries, the biggest benefit to digitalization is efficiency due to its accuracy and speed. From measuring distances to taking those measurements and creating for example, a crown using CAD/CAM technology, it’s simply more precise. Remember, you are not starting your initial patient analysis with a PVC impression - a plastic impression that can break, expand or distort. You are starting your analysis with a precision 3D digital impression of your patient’s mouth. Any measurements or calculations you make are spot-on because they are digital.

The old saying, numbers don’t lie, certainly applies to digital. To cite Dr. Jurim again, he told me when it comes to treatment, “I’m not getting my margins from a stone model, I’m getting my margins from what I feel is the more accurate data, an intraoral scan from TRIOS®.” Simply put, digital technology is revolutionizing the dental industry.