Is Digital Dentistry the Way of the Future?
As a fourth year dental student, my mind is always looking forward to May 2015. I have multiple countdowns set in my phone for the last day of school, the last day of WREB, and, of course, graduation. With my eyes set on the DDS to add to my name, I’m also exploring plans for the future.
It’s pretty obvious that digital technology is finding its way in all aspects of dentistry. At the most basic level, my school is completely paperless. I have yet to write any treatment notes or charting on paper. I have also never developed a film radiograph. (This is where some may insert #NewDentalSchoolBuildingProblems). This year, we’ll hopefully be introduced to CAD/CAM technology. The technology is available at our school, but obviously teaching the traditional way is most important in a school setting.
During school breaks, it never fails that I’m inundated with SnapChats of dental school colleagues watching CAD/CAM technology in an office setting. My second year in school, I had the opportunity to visit an office in Houston that uses nothing but CAD/CAM for crowns. My classmates and I left the office fired up for our next few years and potential to learn this technology. The opportunities to familiarize yourself with digital dentistry are somewhat an extracurricular activity due to the immense curriculum already in place at my dental school, though some schools offer training between the third and fourth years. Organizations such as igniteDDS partner up with dental supply companies to teach dental students digital technology, as well.
We’re slowly but surely being introduced to digital dentistry in the school setting. This is incredibly important considering many conferences are geared specifically towards this topic. Just next month, Singapore will host the CAD/CAM & Digital Dentistry International Conference, proving that digital dentistry is indeed the way of the future.
As students, we’re hungry for new technology. We want to learn to take digital impressions rather than getting messy and pouring up a cast. Some may call this “lazy”; I call it “efficient”. Looking back in time at times such as Y2K, it’s obvious having a back-up plan to technology is always a necessity. I will continue to perfect my skills the “old-fashioned” way while at school and hope to expand my knowledge via continuing education opportunities in the future.