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Jonathan Du Toit MSc (Dent), MChD (OMP), FCD(SA) OMP, PhD
Mr. Ruokola, you have years of experience with different dental CAD/CAM systems. How did you originally come to work with CAD/CAM technology?
I have a degree in precision mechanics and worked as a service representative after my graduation. I maintained dental equipment for three years before I transferred to CAD/CAM sales over ten years ago. Because of my technical background and experience of working in dental clinics, I found the possibilities CAD/CAM can offer extremely interesting. CAD/CAM solutions can really help dental professionals to offer even better treatments to their patients.
“Digital dentistry also supports patient communication, as the dentist can easily use software for demonstrating the desired end result before starting the actual treatment”
Why should dental professionals go digital—and who would you recommend it to?
General practitioners, dental specialists and technicians as well as dental hygienists can all benefit from digital workflows. With CAD/CAM technology, a dental clinic can offer its patients new services and better treatments— even during a single visit. CAD/CAM allows dentists to design and manufacture inlays, onlays, crowns, veneers, bridges, dental implants and surgical guides in-house and to plan orthodontic treatments and maxillofacial surgery directly in the clinic.
Digital dentistry also supports patient communication, as the dentist can easily use software for demonstrating the desired end result before starting the actual treatment. As I see it, the increased predictability of treatment is one of the most important benefits of digital dentistry.
I believe CAD/CAM technology will become more common even when performing dental check-ups. For example, digital impressions can be used to capture the patient’s current oral health condition and for treatment follow-ups.
Why should a dental professional choose Planmeca’s CAD/CAM solutions?
Going digital can be a big step for a dental professional. However, there is nothing to be afraid of—it is not even necessary to digitalise the complete treatment workflow at once. One can easily start by taking digital impressions and integrate the intra-oral scanner with other Planmeca devices later. The open Planmeca ecosystem allows dental professionals to proceed at their own pace.
I worked with another dental equipment manufacturer for several years, so I know other systems well too. What distinguishes Planmeca is the unique Planmeca Romexis software platform. It is the biggest competitive advantage for clinics as well, as it integrates all different workflows into a single software program, making dentists’ work remarkably easier and allowing them to treat more patients in less time. With Romexis, dentists can utilise the captured patient data quickly and easily for different indications.
The integration of different devices with one another has a great number of benefits, starting from the compatibility of different data. However, purchasing all dental equipment from one manufacturer does not automatically mean that all collected patient data actually works together without any problems. In this regard, Planmeca’s complete solution is indeed unique, as all Planmeca devices are connected to a single software platform, guaranteeing seamless compatibility of the different data.
This way, CBCT and CAD/CAM data can be easily and seamlessly combined in Romexis without error-prone and time-consuming data transfers. Additionally, all treatments can be planned and designed in Romexis, so no separate software is needed for different workflows, and as a result, the personnel do not need to learn to use multiple software programs. However, all Planmeca solutions are open and thus compatible with other services, such as orthodontic applications, which means dental professionals can work exactly as they prefer, if they choose Planmeca.
“I believe that workflows
will be digitalised to an even
greater extent in the future”
You have been following the development of CAD/CAM technology for over ten years now. What does the future of dentistry look like?
I believe that workflows will be digitalised to an even greater extent in the future. Both dentists and patients benefit from automated workflows, which reduce the risk of human error, increase the quality of the treatments and make the work more efficient. The digitalisation of workflows is happening all over the world, and Planmeca Romexis offers excellent tools for this.
At the moment, there is already a clear consensus on the benefits of guided implant treatments among dentists, so they will become more common in the near future. Implants and surgical guides will be increasingly fabricated chairside so that dentists can treat their patients even faster and more safely.
In addition to implantology, I believe guided treatments will become the standard for other indications as well. For example, I believe guided root canal therapy based on radiographic and CAD/CAM data will become more common soon.
Editorial note: This interview was published in digital—international magazine of digital denistry Vol. 1, Issue 4/20.