The future is now!  Nothing stays the same!  In the business & educational world we call this “growth”.  The last year and a half has brought about a nasty virus and has propelled many of us into the digital world a lot sooner than we anticipated.  

That nasty virus has done some good, like bringing family, friends and co-workers together on a new platform.  Most notably, it has changed the way we communicate & work.  With distance learning being the current norm, it also presents challenges in dental schools for teaching the traditional hands on lessons.  With the digital work flows currently available, maybe it’s time to evaluate just how important it is to spend a lot of time teaching the pouring of models, waxing up teeth, casting metals, etc.  

For sure, lectures, study groups, and testing can be done online, however, with clinical procedures it is still a necessity to obtain records to treat the patient.  From this record gathering point on, there is a digital work flow that will take the place of traditional methods in fabricating dental restorations, denture prosthetics, implant planning, & orthodontics.

3Shape is a leader in the development of CAD/CAM software and equipment to capture clinical data and create a multitude of dental restorations.  Programs include Model Builder, Dental System Premium, Complete Restorative, Implant Studio, and Ortho Studio.  You can build your software package to your specific needs then upgrade as needed.  The really cool thing is that labs have been using it for years, therefore teaching with 3Shape makes for a seamless transition with lab relationships.  

The Trios intraoral scanners are now sophisticated enough to aid in the detection of caries.  They save money & environment on impression material.  Scans are virtually sent to labs, further reducing work times, labor and improving accuracy while maintaining a clean laboratory.

Schools have an advantage with 3Shape in that the applications have a similar look that walks you through each step of the design process.  When a school buys a lab scanner, they get 20 seats for design.  Most schools get the Complete Restorative plan where there are no renewals for 5 years.  You can buy CAD points to use the specialty packages in graduate programs. 

Gen Z, short for Generation Z, (Zoomers) are the names for the generation born to Millennials.  They are dubbed “digital natives”.  Digital is 2nd nature to Gen Z,  like a duck to water!  The real hurdle implementing the digital work flow in dental schools is the various levels of knowledge in the faculty.  Logically the cost to make a total transition at one time is not feasible.  However, it is doable, one step at a time, and there’s no time like the present!


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