The world is becoming increasingly digitalized and smart phones, computers and software are making a continuous impact on our daily lives. Of course, this development also affects implantology. In a series of articles, Dr. Paul Weigl will guide us through the benefits of a digital workflow in implant dentistry.
Dr. Weigl graduated from the University of Munich Dental School in 1989. Since 1992 he has worked as an assistant professor and director of preclinical studies for the Department of Prosthodontics at J.W. Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main. Dr. Weigl focuses particularly on the field of prosthetics in implants. He is now head of the Department of Postgraduate Education, Faculty of Oral and Dental Medicine at J.W. Goethe-University. Digitalization in implantology is one of his prioritized research fields.
The world is becoming increasingly digitalized, how do you see that affecting dental implantology?
Like in every business we too are working more and more with software-based devices, such as scanners and planning software. It is perfectly natural that digitalization will also affect the progress of implantology.
What are your thoughts on the emerging generation of dentists?
I’m sure the new generation of dentistry show some differences compared with previous generations. Firstly, the new dentists have grown up with devices such as smart phones and tablets so they are used to working with these kinds of screens and software every day. Secondly, the new generation educated and therefore focuses strongly on being as minimally invasive as possible. That means we can see in future a whole new thinking and acting dental implant community in Europe, which is interesting. Also, now and in future female dentists are the majority. They are well-prepared for digitalization in a totally different way due to their stronger interest for esthetic dentistry. So I think the digital workflow will increase naturally with the coming generations.
How important are the roles and responsibilities within the digital implant workflow?
Digital implant workflow more or less mirrors conventional workflow. It is a tool created to make things easier, safer and more efficient. However, because it mirrors the conventional workflow the team has to work together. The responsibilities and the roles in the team consist of the surgeon, the restorative dentist or the general practitioner, and the dental technician, and these are more or less the same. And, like everywhere else where teamwork is important, you also need a team leader. Today, the general practitioner or restorative dentist is in charge because this is the first go-to person for any kind of patient. Mostly, he or she is also the person who handles the final restoration for the patient and inserts the implant. This means that if a patient has a problem with a restoration or during the maintenance period he addresses the general practitioner and that is the reason why I think this role will continue to have the main responsibility in the team.
Next in this editorial series, Dr. Weigl will examine the benefits of a shift to digital implant workflow.