Digital Dentistry – What does that mean?

“Digital” is a buzz word circulating throughout the dental industry, but the question still remains – what does “going digital” really mean? There is a definitive difference between introducing technology to a few areas of the practice and utilizing an entirely digital workflow, however, for many dental practices, “digitizing” results in the former. What barriers are preventing dentists from achieving an entirely digital workflow? As many have already discovered and reported, integrating digital devices and technologies that seamlessly communicate can be not only difficult, but also frustrating while a patient sits in the next room.

Digital Dentistry for the Digital Practice

Between the seemingly daunting process of implementation and traditional training that often focuses on scanning for crown and bridge restorations, the potential return on investment for scanners has been severely limited. However, the Kois Center, located in Seattle, Washington, believes every patient should be scanned at each appointment, and all staff members should be trained to comfortably do this. By scanning at this consistency, the practice will discover opportunities to analyze collected data, such as tracking wear patterns, observing changes in anatomy and documenting outcomes in relation to insurance.  The Kois Center is the only continuing education program in the country conducting and publishing independent research and is seeking to break through the barriers dentists encounter when facing a digital practice transformation. The most recent curricular addition at the Center, “Optimized Digital Integration for the Dental Practice,” is a digital workflow course designed to establish a system to become fully digital in the workplace and includes a focus on the functionality of equipment and daily workflow, as well as integrating avenues of technology to maximize efficiency and patient satisfaction.

In addition to creation of this course, the Kois Center is affronting another barrier of entry to the digital world – price. Scanners are often very expensive, and many dentists are reluctant to spend $40,000 or more, plus maintenance and IT fees, when this equipment may become obsolete in the future. The Kois Center has recently partnered with Evident, a leading dental technology company, that has introduced a service allowing dental practices to rent an intraoral scanner on a month to month basis, with no monthly minimum. The Evident IOS scanner subscription service includes staff training, both in house and virtual, as well as a replacement scanner in the instance the rented scanner requires repairs or maintenance. The monthly subscription cost for this service is $1299.00.

 

This subscription-based service is also fully integrated with the revolutionary Evident-Kois Hub – a HIPPA compliant, universal digital storage locker for patient files. Patient files automatically attach to Kois Center design protocols and can be sent to a digital design center for creation. This allows any staff member to scan a patient and order a design from a lab, without extensive computer or scanning skills. The design can then be sent to the dentist’s preferred lab or back to the practice for in-office fabrication.