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Digital Dentistry by Colin Cornish, ASM, Braemar Finance

According to a recent report, the digital dentistry market will be experiencing stellar growth over the coming decade, but, going digital isn’t as new as you might think.

It has been evolving over decades, starting in the 1960s with the development of tomography. This was followed by a thesis on scanning in the 1970s with the first digital restoration taking place in the 1980s. The 90s saw the introduction of interactive software (although this was delayed by its expense).

Looking at today’s landscape, the truth is there is a concerted trend towards a more digital workplace; no dentist can avoid it and the opportunities it presents should be embraced.

Labs are increasingly digitising, with the rise in implants being an example. The use of digital imaging and data transfer improves accuracy and removes the need for re-work, reducing costs and speeding up the treatment process. Also, the ability to create digital moulds without taking impressions provides the ability to show patients what their treatment will look like, thereby enhancing the patient experience.

This all benefits the patient - traditional methods of getting impressions just aren’t good enough anymore because there’s more scope for error.

Then, of course, there’s the rise of 3D printing with some of the larger practices investing in these devices. This is a very real trend, particularly among younger dentists who are well-versed in the newest technology.

Smaller practices

Finance is available for practices of all sizes to benefit from the digital revolution, provided the labs they use have digitised and are willing to embrace the future, because the future is digital.


Something that’s still very much in its infancy is the use of an app for clients to take pictures of their teeth and send it to their dentist, who can assess if they need, for example, to have their aligners changed.


Today, scanning, planning, designing, milling, and 3-D printing are realities within reach of every contemporary dental practitioner and requires only an investment in resources and education.