Six months ago seems like a lifetime away now. Looking back on how cosmetic dentistry was practiced and delivered to our patients, I am amazed at the number of ways I have changed how we do this now. In this blog, I will outline the safety features, the massive improvements, and the technological advancements I have put into my own cosmetic dentistry practice. Please note that all dental offices are different and this blog is only meant to outline and educate our patients so you know that safety and precision are our top priority.
Technology to Eliminate Outside Lab Involvement and Increase Precision
Anyone who has ever had a dental crown or bridge done understands the nuisance of wearing a temporary one made out of plastic for a couple of weeks while a laboratory makes the final crown out of porcelain. This would typically mean cold sensitivity, discomfort and roughness since the temporary crown or bridge is not as smooth as the final porcelain one. In addition, you have to avoid chewing on the temporary for the two weeks or so you are wearing it. But what many patients don’t know is that when a crown is being made in an outside lab, it goes through many hands and can be managed by many different people who work in that lab, including the driver that picks up and delivers the case back to our office.
An In-Office Solution
With the rising concerns with sterilization and disinfection, as well as looking for ways to minimize patient exposure to multiple people, I made the decision to eliminate the outside lab all together and bring something into my dental office that not only replaces the lab and all the people in it but eliminates human error and creates crowns with incredible precision in a totally sterile way. I purchased a CAD/CAM dental mill and 3D printing machine and connected it to our scanner. When a patient needs a crown, we can scan the tooth to create an exact 3D copy of the tooth that is getting the crown, send the scan to the milling machine, and mill the crown in 15 minutes to create a precise, high quality, and amazingly accurate dental crown that can be bonded in right away without having to wear a temporary crown for two weeks. A dental crown done in one appointment not only eliminates the many issues with having a temporary one for weeks, but it also meets one the very important criteria post-COVID: elimination of all the other people that would normally be involved in producing that crown. Since it’s done in the treatment room where the patient is being seen, and I manage the entire process, the crown will never see anyone else but the patient receiving it and myself. Eliminating multiple people from handling your crown ensures that there is no transmission of germs or pathogens and I don’t have to be concerned with disinfection along the way.
Our patients have been thrilled with this piece of technology in our cosmetic dentistry practice. Not only can they get the crown from start to finish in one simple appointment without waiting for weeks, but they also love the fact that it is made in front of them by a machine that works directly with the scanner, and so the crown never has to go through the hands of the driver that takes it to the lab, the lab technician that assigns it to multiple people to manage through all the steps then back to our office with the driver. All those people are no longer involved in the process, and with the challenges due to COVID, this is one piece of technology that has definitely changed and elevated the way we deliver safety and peace of mind.