Welcome to the third article about digital implant workflow. Last time we learned about the benefits of a digital shift. This time Dr. Weigl will guide us through the potential challenges and opportunities when implementing a digital implant workflow. We start off with the challenges, which may be familiar to some.
What do you think is the biggest challenge when shifting to digital implant workflow?
Switching to a digital implant workflow at a dental office is not something that can be done overnight. Why? Because clinicians traditionally follow the motto “never change a running system” as long as the patients are satisfied, and everything is working smoothly. Therefore, it is a bit of a struggle to convince clinicians that digital workflow by and large represents a major advantage for everyone involved: for the patients as well as for the treatment team.
Could you give us an example?
Ok, if nobody knows that the smart phone exists, then nobody would have a problem with the fact that there is no such thing. Now however, when all of us use this kind of device on a daily basis, we become increasingly addicted because we know about the advantages that the phone gives us. It is the same with the digital implant workflow for the players on the dental team: the restorative clinician, the oral surgeon and the dental technician. As they start their introduction to a digital implant workflow, they realize the major advantages and, just like smart phone users, they would never consider going back to the old technology. The main task is to start educating the whole treatment team about the advantages, the limits and the reasons why we should try it. If we do not get the treatment teams to try it, if they only hear about, they will never start using it.
What is the most cost-effective and easy way for a restorative clinician to start with the digital implant workflow?
To be honest, the easiest way to get a restorative clinician to enter the digital implant workflow is to tell him or her that it does not require a big investment. First, of course, you should be offered education to learn more, and secondly, you do not have to invest in the devices and software you use for operating the digital implant workflow.
How is that possible?
For example, you can use existing devices with which you perform an intraoral scan or extraoral scan. These are the basic devices, even in a digital implant workflow. After scanning you can send the patients to a radiologist for a Cone Beam CT if you do not already offer that service yourself. This way, you can easily and cost-effectively create a so-called virtual patient. Later on, you can easily outsource all the planning and when it is outsourced, all that is left for you to do is to approve the treatment plan and the simulated treatment. This is the main competence of a restorative clinician. He or she has the knowledge to decide if this is a good or bad way to treat a patient and it does not necessarily require the knowledge of how to do it on a computer. That part could be done by any person, as long as the restorative clinician takes the final responsibility. He or she would only have to check the treatment plan and the planning for the virtual patient. So, to sum up, when considering whether to implement a digital workflow, the investment should not be an issue.
Read all articles in the editorial series Digitalization with Dr Weigl: