3D technology transforms the dental sector in the Canary Islands
Modern digital dentistry digitizes and processes images that reproduce a model of our mouth and then make prostheses or dentures that are impossible to match by the human hand. All thanks to X-ray devices, scanners, 3D printers or the so-called CAD / CAM technology.
When we think of the great inventions of our time, we place the internet or smartphones at the head, not forgetting the importance of advances in digital technology medicine. And this one, categorically, can change anyone’s life.
A medical sector that today embraces digital technology is dentistry. Part of it is the scanning of the mouth, the design of a smile through a computer and the manuf-acturing of 3D dentures (dentures, crowns and bridges). Modern digital dentistry digitizes and processes images that reproduce a model of our mouth and then make prostheses or dentures.
CAD / CAM is the acronym for Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manu-facturing, and has less than a decade in the dental sector. In the Canary Islands, this type of technology is already becoming common in clinics. This is the case of Artedental, located in Puerto de la Cruz and whose bulk of patients come from countries such as the United Kingdom or Germany. This centre, at the forefront of notable advances in dentistry such as dental implant placement, now has Dr. David Trujillo, a dentist specialising in digital dentistry and one of the pioneers in the use of the CAD / CAM technique. In fact, Dr. Trujillo usually travels from Madrid to Tenerife to attend the patients of the clinic.
He explains that one of the handicaps of digital dentistry is that “there is still no regulated training, only private training offer”, a circumstance that, added to its latest applications, limits the number of trained professionals.
“The basis of a good digital doctor is the thorough knowledge of the prosthesis (possibilities, indications or materials) and the domain of three-dimensional environment programmes,” he says. While other clinics and specialists maintain a reactionary attitude to change and delay the implementation of this technique, the Artedental specialist never doubted it: “I have been fully digitized for five years. I use the intraoral scanner for oral records, and I make my own milling and 3D printing center available to the clinic. ”
The intraoral scanner is “a device that, as a camera, takes photos or three-dimensional records of the mouth, not being necessary in this case the classic silicone measure-ment”, explains the doctor. He emphasises this advantage because embedding a silicone filled mold on the denture is much more uncomfortable for the patient, who experiences “overwhelm, reflux and even nausea.” “Once you have the digital images,” Trujillo continues, “the patient’s prosthesis is designed using specialised software, and the design, in the form of an archive, is processed by machining machinery or 3D printing.”
But the advantages of intraoral scanner and 3D technology are not limited to this. Time is a factor that makes a difference. The dental sector can be divided into two large groups: the clinics, where dentists work; and laboratories, where prosthetics shape crowns, bridges and dentures. The dentist takes care of the silicone (physical) impression and then sends it to the laboratory, where the prosthesis is manufactured. This process takes several days, sometimes weeks, depending on the workload of the laboratory or the difficulty of the prosthesis. If reading this bores you, let’s imagine the whole procedure. For the patient, it also means multiplying their appointments: it cannot be guaranteed that the prosthesis is adapted to the first one. This process is long and even lacks a guarantee of precision, since everything will depend on the tandem and the skills between dentist and prosthetic. With the CAD / CAM technology the process is accelerated. Everything is digitized and the accuracy is absolute.
The Artedental expert also underlines the significant advantages for the professional: “Better communication tools thanks to the fact that the patient visualiaes everything through images and, therefore, better treatment compression and greater credit; more security for the accuracy and predictability of the solutions or more possibilities in terms of types of manufacturing and materials to choose for the same prosthetic project. And very important, the exact reproduction in case of repetitions or breaks, which is also an advantage for the patient.
The number of clinics that add to this progress does not stop increasing, and even prestigious publications ad-vocate that professionals embrace change. It is a rising industry, a circumstance that also reflects the numbers. The company SmarTech Publish-ing announced in its 2018 report that the 3D dental printing market will cover 9.5 billion dollars by 2027, and that the industry has increased more than 35% from year to year, and growing. This is undoubtedly the future of dentistry, and in the Canary Islands we can already access its advantages