How a Fully-Integrated CAD/CAM Solution Can Fuel Dental Practice Growth

For the dentist, a fully-integrated CAD/CAM solution means a practice can perform a wide variety of procedures in a more accurate, fast and easy way. In short, CAD/CAM technology can lead to better workflows that allow for production increases, new services and an improved patient experience. Some of the top dentists in the country credit their investment in CAD/CAM technology as a main reason for the growth of their practice.

Getting started in CAD/CAM with digital impressions

As the first step in the CAD/CAM workflow, creating digital impressions using an intraoral scanner can be a non-intimidating way to get a feel for how digital dentistry can improve clinical outcomes. While this initial investment may mean a practice is still sending impressions to a lab to mill and process the restorations, dentists will find digital impressions to be a simpler, quicker process that patients much prefer over traditional methods.

David Rice, DDS, sees digital impressions as a great first step in building out a fully integrated CAD/CAM solution. In a recent webinar, Dr. Rice explained how digital impressions satisfy the four big buckets, as he calls them: convenience, technology, getting positive online reviews and practice growth. “Think about how [digital impressions] are a foundation, a platform to leapfrog,” says Dr. Rice. “You can continue working with your lab. You don’t have to change everything at once.”

For a dental practice considering an initial investment into CAD/CAM technology, digital impressions are the foundation to building a fully digital workflow; leading to same-day dentistry that patients love. “Think about every opportunity that builds off that foundation,” says Dr. Rice. “It builds off your ability to print your models, to streamline your process and your practice. Think about all the things you can integrate that start with one incredible piece of technology.”

Primescan brings versatility and speed to the dental practice

For Kirsten Andrews, DDS, Dentsply Sirona’s Primescan is the versatile workhorse she needed to elevate her practice. “I wanted to be the first one in North Dakota to have it. It has literally transformed my practice. I could not operate without it,” Dr. Andrews says. She uses Primescan for everyday crowns and bridges, large composite fillings, occlusal guards, missing teeth for dentures or partials, orthodontic aligners, sleep appliances, brand-new dentures and dental implants. Next, she’ll be using it to scan to create a guide for root canals and a guide in calcified canals for endodontic therapy, she says. “There really isn’t an area of my practice where it does not come in handy.”

One of the first things Meena Barsoum, DMD, noticed about Primescan was its incredible speed. “My first ‘wow moment’ with the Primescan was my first full arch impression,” said Dr. Barsoum. “Typically, it would take us six or eight minutes to take a scan and we were able to complete a full arch in under a minute. And that was the moment where I really felt like the technology has caught up with our expectations.”

Taking the next step toward a fully-Integrated CAD/CAM solution with an in-house milling unit

The benefit of investing in an in-house milling unit is clear: it allows a dental practice to be less reliant on labs for processing restorations. An in-house milling unit allows for more same-day dentistry, which means happier patients, higher case acceptance and increased profits.

“A lot of things that I outsourced I am now able to do in-house. And I personally enjoy that part,” says Jenny Apekian, DDS. “It ignited a passion in me, a clinical interest that is hard to achieve when you’re not responsible for the final product.”

Dr. Apekian also sees in-house milling as a way to differentiate her practice and to educate her patients. Her practice makes a deliberate effort to help patients understand how they do dentistry differently. “We’re showing them how we’re designing a crown as we’re doing it. We encourage them to go watch their crown get milled,” Dr. Apekian says.

For some practices, investing in an in-house milling unit can drastically improve the patient experience for practical reasons as well. Many of the patients seen by Kirsten Andrews, DDS, drive up to two hours for appointments at her practice in Devils Lake, N.D. “Patients are in awe when I tell them I’m going to give them a crown today. From their past experience, it’s ‘What? I don’t have to come back or wear something that doesn’t fit for two weeks?’ So, it’s really made a huge impact.”

With CEREC Primemill, it’s all about speed

The main advantage of chair-side milling is the ability to complete treatment in a single visit. But completing treatment in a single visit means speed is important. With its ability to complete a zirconia restoration in under five minutes, Michael Skramstad, DDS, can count on Primemill to complete most treatment in about an hour. “In my office, time is my most important commodity,” says Dr. Skramstad. “The CEREC Primemill, with its industry-defining speed, is allowing me to manufacture restorations faster than ever before.” Hear more from Dr. Skramstad in this video from Dentsply Sirona.

Ready to invest? Visit pattersondental.com to learn more about the benefits of a fully integrated CEREC system.

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