The Digital Age of Orthodontics
If we have passed the golden age of orthodontics, we are certainly now entering the digital age. The digital space has been expanding significantly over the past few years and we are entering a new way of practicing our specialty.
Beyond charting and scheduling, the digital influence has grown more since the introduction of Suresmile and Invisalign in the late 90’s. CBCT in 2000, and 3D models in 2001 have also lead to the digital innovations that we are more familiar with today. Imagine the changes we have seen in the past decade with improved digital workflow that includes digital imaging, digital treatment presentation tools, digital treatment planning, digital appliance design, and now digital appliance manufacturing.
These innovations are thanks to the developments in CAD/CAM, 3D printing, 3D imaging, CBCT scanning, robotics, cloud computing, and other digital tools. And that begs the question: Is digital better?
Is Digital Better?
Almost all digital techniques start with basic benefits, and often have a rough start. In almost every circumstance, digital techniques have superseded analog techniques in efficiency and scalability. In most cases, digital innovations also improve outcomes and the user experience. Think about typewriters vs. word processor software, or paper maps vs. GPS. Photographers may debate that film is preferred to digital photography, but the conversion to digital photography has spawned an explosive growth of image sharing and content development that was never possible with an analog system.
Think of all the areas of your life where digital has become standard. Would you ever go back to an analog system? Imagine that the same influence will evolve our profession. It’s not a matter of if, but when full digital workflow will become standard and a step above the analog methods we hold onto.
Charting the New Digital Direction
How do we keep up with the digital workflow? We can start by embracing the new tools and developing the systems that improve our profession and keep us the leaders in orthodontic care. Sharing ideas, promoting learning and discussion of the new direction of our profession is our goal at Ortho Cosmos to keep us on top of the new digital age. Maximizing the benefits of Invisalign, 3D printing, CAD/CAM, 3D scanning and other techniques will help us keep one step ahead and remain relevant in our future.