For Eimear O’Connell one of the key benefits of her Cerec digital scanner comes from offering her patients a ‘practitioner’s-eye view’ of their mouths to build trust and enable them to get involved in their own care.
Because people can’t see inside their mouths very well it makes a huge impact when we are able to show patients what we see when we examine them. For me, the educational aspect of using the Cerec Omnicam as a modular unit in this way has proved to be a fantastic way to engage more closely with our patients. It has completely opened up the treatment process to get them involved in almost everything.
We use it as a tool to help them understand how to clean, why to clean, where to clean, basically whatever is going on in their mouths. They see that process all going on before their very eyes, which makes clear what we are doing and how it will protect the tooth. Our patients now have a more profound understanding of what dentistry is.
Using the Cerec Omnicam in this way greatly improves the relationship with the patient and brings about discussion. For example, if we are restoring one tooth and they see an image of an adjacent tooth that looks as if it is starting to break down, or there is an old amalgam filling in it, this will prompt them to ask if we should do something about that tooth. Instead of it being us diagnosing and telling them what to do, the patient is now getting involved in the choice process, so they are involved in their own care. Our patients are making choices because they want to get something done, rather than because we are dictating to them.
Building patient trust
Because of the erosion of trust in the dental profession caused by negativity in the media in recent years, new patients who haven’t had a long-term relationship with you as their dentist can be sceptical about your motivation. With an intraoral scanner, both the dentist and the patient can see exactly what is going on. This immediately builds up trust in your diagnosis and treatment plan because the patient can see very clearly what is needed, which is a big advantage.
The Omnicam’s range of uses
I’ve been using Cerec technology from Dentsply Sirona since 2008, to do a lot of restorative work, to make inlays, onlays, crowns and bridges. We are also using it to plan for guided implant surgery, to make the guides and then to make the restorations for the implants. We can make screw- or cement-retained crowns, Maryland bridges and any three-unit bridges including a three-unit implant-supported bridge, all from within the practice.
Because you can see your own preparations in high-definition, you can immediately see if there are any flaws. The lab can check it immediately once the scan is uploaded, allowing them to check for any issues. With traditional impressions one challenge is when part of the impression is missed, this requiring the patient to come back for further appointments, creating unnecessary and time consuming work for everyone involved. So being able to do this digitally is amazing.
Involving the whole team
It’s also a lot faster to take the images with Cerec Omnicam compared with a traditional impression. Data is captured much quicker making the process a lot easier, this also means I can get my team involved in taking scans for placing implants. I plan the implant, but they are involved in the scanning process. On days when I’m away from the office and somebody is coming in to be assessed for whether they need a dental implant, one of my team will take a scan with the Omnicam so that I can then plan the treatment later. It’s a highly effective way of involving the team and giving them more responsibilities.
Fitting into the full digital workflow
Scanning saves you from doing messy impressions, which patients really love. We don’t ask our patients often enough what they feel about certain processes and procedures that we carry out. But a lot of people really are phobic about getting an impression because they think they are going to choke. Being able to do it digitally is just fantastic. Practitioners can just work with their laboratory if they decide they don’t want to be involved in the process of making and milling restorations in their own practice and it’s just as accurate.
For all these reasons I strongly encourage practitioners to start investing in digital technology. It enables a truly patient-driven process because you are delivering more efficiently and more effectively to the patient. If dentists want to engage more effectively with their patients this is a fantastic way of doing it.
To find out more about the extensive range of digital solutions, materials and equipment, please visit www.dentsplysirona.com/en-gb/products/cad-cam.html or call us on 01932 853 422.
You can also access a range of education resources, video tutorials, courses and CPD webinars at dentsplysirona.com/ukeducation.