Utilizing Digital Dentistry to Predict Restorative Outcomes: Part 1
Digital dentistry is enabling dentists to predict restorative outcomes before starting a case.
Invisalign and Interdisciplinary Cases
One of the best models for this is Invisalign. It has the ability to take a 3D model of the patient’s dentition and create a new smile digitally. We can’t overlay veneers just yet with Invisalign, but we can create restorative space for veneers or create ideal spaces for implants or pontics.
Having this tool available allows the general dentist to predict what restorations the patient will need after orthodontic treatment. It also guides the orthodontist with precision.
Understanding what the specialist knows and does is also important to be able to direct the case. With interdisciplinary cases the general dentist is often titled the “quarterback” of the case.
When you think of what a quarterback needs to know to be successful, he has to understand his own offense as well as the opposing defense. He has to understand the intricacies of almost every aspect of the game as well as performing his job effectively.
As dentists, we need to do the same. Understanding other specialties and what they do is vital to our effectiveness as high performing general dentists. We can then achieve predictable and beautiful outcomes.
A Digital Dentistry Case
This case illustrates the use of digital rendering of an outcome beforehand. The patient, John, is like many of our patients who do not like their smile but put their family before themselves. John was finished paying for his kid’s orthodontic treatment and wanted to do something for himself.
My office of course had been dropping hints about what we could do for him for many years until he finally decided to do it. John has severe crowding, a missing left lateral incisor, and an anterior crossbite. He has worn a stayplate for many years.
With a limited budget, we discussed orthodontics, an implant, and some minor composite bonding to fit his goal. The next step was to see if it was possible. That is where digital dentistry, specifically Invisalign, is a helpful tool to predict the end result and confirm the treatment plan …
For Part 2 of this series, visit the Gold Dust Dental Lab blog!