For my second blog I have decided to write about the use of Cad/Cam technology in dentistry today. This technology has been used in dentistry for approximately 20 decades, but has been increasingly used in recent years. Cad/Cam, which stands for computer-aided design/computer aided manufacturing is a technology that allows dental professionals to scan the tooth structure and create prosthetic teeth with a milling unit that carves porcelain blocks. The system has a computer component that has an attached scanner. The scanner gathers the information of the problem area and presents it in a 3-d format on the computer screen. This information is invaluable to the dentist because it allows them to alter and see any issues that are present. They have the ability to see the tooth’s structure from a unique perspective that they possibly have never had before.
This adds a fantastic benefit to the dental office and the patient. The advantage to using the Cad/Cam is that the dentist has the ability to use the device to finish a procedure in significantly less time. Traditionally, patients had to visit the office and have impressions taken, then wait weeks for the permanent device to be created by a dental lab and sent back to the office. Now the information is attained instantly by the scanner and presented by sophisticated software by the computer. By eliminating multiple visits to the office to finish one procedure, the dentist can now start and finish in a single appointment with the patient. This is not only beneficial to the patient because he or she saves time, but the office and owners save money by eliminating the need to stay open and pay salary expenses unnecessarily. In addition to this, the expense of sending out impressions to dental labs to create the devices is also eliminated. By doing this the office can eliminate the regular expense associated with doing any type of restoration by cutting out the labs. The possible economic benefit that this technology has the potential to give can become very significant.
Of course with all of the benefits there are still some cons to using this system. While the computer and scanner provide great information to the dentist and allow them to practice dentistry in a new and innovative way, the learning curve associated with this system can be difficult. My article states that what is just as “important is the accuracy and skill with which they design a restoration,
particularly since the fit of a restoration is critical to preventing future tooth damage”(yourdentistryguide). So, even though this technology can be extremely beneficial to all, it also carries along the burden of understanding how to properly use and apply it. As with any new technology or information system, there is always a period where people need to learn how to use and apply the technology. Obviously some might never adopt the usage while other will strive to be innovative and move ahead of the pack in their particular field or profession.