Last weekend I went to the Association of Dental Implantology’s conference at the SECC in Glasgow. This is one of the UKs biggest gathering of dentists who are involved with dental implants in the UK and it was being held here, in Scotland, for the first time. The organisers did Scotland proud, as the event was fantastically organised and the quality of the speakers and lectures absolutely incredible.Well done to all concerned! What was even better for me, was that it was a five minute walk from my house and a ten minute walk from our clinic! How often can you say that about something like this? I have travelled to what feels like the ends of the earth, all over the world in search of dental education, but it was lovely to be able to get up in your own bed and literally fall out of it, into the conference! I don’t think I will get this type of opportunity again soon, mores the pity, but truth be told, I am very lucky to go to fantastic places and continue to get better at what I love to do, so I’m not complaining!
Some of the best speakers that I enjoyed the most, were those pushing the boundaries of conventional dentistry and seeking to advance and enhance the practice of it. We always use tried and tested evidence based procedures at our clinic, but it is good to see where things are going in the future and how we can continually improve what we do on a daily basis, and this can only happen when you are your hardest critic and are not afraid to get out of your comfort zone and strive for perfection.
I remember when I took kick boxing up for the first time, I was very unfit and was not really used to being in such a physically demanding pursuit.
Nerves give way to excitement as you start the journey and the rush you feel when you get punched in the face is something you cannot adequately explain without sounding like some crazed loon – just know it feels even better to do the same to someone else as skill advances I mention this because things that are new, are not easy, but if you stick at it, it will become second nature – its just the way the world works.
One area that we are working on right now is computer guided techniques and CAD CAM in particular (Computer Aided Design Computer Aided Manufacture). As you may have read in previous blogs, I have been honing my skills in Digital Smile Design recently. The ultimate aim of DSD in a technical sense is to produce the Smile Frame which will guide where we want to have our teeth placed to produce the ideal, natural and stunning smile. After this the treatment planning brainstorm begins where we figure out how we are going to deliver this perfect smile in view of the favourable and not so favourable situations in the patient concerned.
This allows true interdisciplinary dentistry to take place as our treatment plans now blend a mixture of orthodontics, implants and restorations (for example minimal no prep veneers). I think this has been the biggest benefit for me as a restorative/cosmetic dentist, that I can now easily explain to patients the rationale of treatment in an easy to understand manner, and also do less drilling in a more conservative way because the teeth have been moved to better places first through treatments like orthodontics.
So how does this relate to CAD CAM? Well, if we have the architects drawings of the smile, and have the blueprints in front of us to get started, the next step is to action it, in the most precise and predictable way to make sure we deliver what we have envisioned in the minutest detail. A lot of disciplines have their own computer software for doing this, but the missing link in my opinion is a way to integrate the DSD smile frame (where the teeth should ideally be) based on measured principles (DSD). In order to do this, the smart folk at Digital Smile Design have produced DSD Connect – an outstanding program that allows the smile frame to be overlaid (like a transparency) over other manufacturers computer guided dental software.
As a result, you can now move teeth into their ideal positions and shapes, as the smile frame is now the guide for it to happen. The results are predictable and accurate. The then completed designs can be produced via 3D printing or milling closing the Design/Manufacture loop. www.dsdconnect.biz
I will let you all know how we get on with this in coming weeks, but until the next blog I hope you all keep pushing your limits everyday and keep improving and getting better at what you do !