Since dentistry’s origins in 7000 BC, it has advanced significantly. Dentistry is one of the oldest medical specialties, and it has undergone millennia of advancements all aimed at bettering the dental treatment that patients can receive. Technology has significantly changed dentistry over the past few decades, converting it from an analog to a digital industry.
Dentists all around the globe are adapting to this shift, and among those who have been able to execute it successfully is Dr. Miguel Casanas, a veteran in the dental community and owner of Meadowbrook Dental. In this installation of Evident’s Digital Dentist series, Dr. Casanas shared his expertise from over 30 years of dentistry, providing us with insights on digital transformation, the benefits, and the challenges he faced along the way.
Dr. Casanas’ Journey to Dentistry
Today, Dr. Miguel Casanas is a well-known leader in the dental community, and it is a position he is naturally inclined to with his father also being a dentist. He followed in his footsteps, graduating from dental school in 1989, but the landscape of dentistry back then is a far cry from what it is now.
Back then, dentistry was a completely analog world, and most dentists didn’t even have computers in their offices. However, the rapid advancements in technology have changed the face of dentistry, and Dr. Casanas has been a witness to this transformation. This transformation however was not an immediate shift– instead it was built over the steady course of 30 years.
The Digital Transformation Process
Dr. Casanas admits that in the beginning, the idea of digitizing his practice was daunting, and he even debated whether he needed a website when he opened Meadowbrook Dental in 2008. He explains that investing in digital technology requires a considerable financial commitment, but the benefits outweigh the cost in the long run.
The transition to digital dentistry required a significant investment of time and resources, beginning with the purchase of an iTero machine for Invisalign treatment. The iTero machine allowed him to capture 3D images of patients’ teeth, making the process easier and more comfortable for patients. This was a major milestone for his practice, as it allowed him to offer more digital services to his patients.
From that point on, he embraced technology and made it a goal to integrate digital services to give his patients the best possible care.
Today, Meadowbrook Dental is a leader in digital dentistry and Dr. Casanas has taught and mentored many doctors worldwide on the transition from analog to digital. Throughout his career, Dr. Casanas has carefully handled the responsibility of caring for his patients with pride, saying “It’s truly transformational on multi-levels because you’re transforming patients’ lives.”
Because of the way it greatly enriches the care dentists can provide to their patients and streamline day to day clinic workflows, Dr. Casanas believes that every practice should aim for a fully digital environment, where all processes are completed using technology.
However, he acknowledges that this is a lofty goal, and it may not be achievable in the near future. He explains that it is not possible to move 100% digital overnight, but it is a process that has to be approached step by step. When done right, at the end of the day digital transformation is a highly rewarding achievement for any dental clinic.
Benefits of Digital Dentistry
There are several advantages that digital dentistry can provide to dental practices, and with his experience Dr. Casanas can attest to three primary benefits.
Accuracy and Precision
The use of digital technology allows for greater accuracy and precision in the diagnosis and treatment of dental problems. Digital imaging provides a clearer picture of the teeth and mouth, making it easier to detect and diagnose dental issues.
Digital technology allows for more efficient and faster treatment of patients. The process of taking impressions can be performed much quicker with tools like intra-oral scanners. Restorations can also be designed and milled in-house, reducing the time it takes to complete treatment.
Enhanced Patient Experience
With digital technology, dental visits can be considerably more comfortable and less intimidating. Patients no longer have to endure messy impressions or lengthy procedures, making dental visits a much more pleasant and convenient process.
Challenges of Digital Dentistry
While the benefits of digital dentistry are evident, there are also challenges that come with the transition. A significant barrier is that the shift requires a change in mindset and a willingness to learn new techniques and processes.
The learning curve can be steep, and it takes time and effort to become proficient in the use of digital technology. Another main challenge is the significant financial commitment required to invest in digital technology.
Making the move from traditional dentistry requires purchasing new equipment and investing man hours into training clinic staff to use them. This may be a considerable barrier for smaller practices or those starting, but luckily there are digital labs that can help clinics with other aspects of digital dentistry, such as CAD/CAM dental models.
As Dr. Casanas has shared with us from his own experience: the shift may be daunting, but in the long run the benefits outweigh the costs.
The digital revolution in dentistry has transformed the industry, making it easier for dentists to provide quality services to their patients. Dr. Casanas’ journey to digital dentistry is a testament to the benefits of the technology and the challenges that come with the transition.
Making the move to digital dentistry may seem like a formidable task at first, but step by step dental practices can be able to achieve it. The use of digital technology allows for greater accuracy and precision in the diagnosis and treatment of dental problems, improves patient experience, and makes dental visits more comfortable.
Transitioning to a digital practice can be overwhelming, but with Evident, it’s a seamless process. We provide everything you need for a successful digital business, including top-of-the-line equipment, software, digital designs, and reliable support. Our team ensures that you find the right tools and guidance to fit your unique business needs, so you can confidently make the switch to digital dentistry with ease.
By embracing technology and seeking guidance from mentors in the digital world, dentists can improve the quality of care they offer to their patients and stay ahead of the curve in this rapidly evolving field.
See the full webinar here: Going Digital with Dr. Casanas.