“As the landscape of dentistry shifts toward the more frequent use of digital technologies, including intraoral scanners, software-enhanced workflow tools, and increasingly accessible in-office milling, we as professionals need to look at the changing definition of dentistry and examine what it means. The term “digital dentist” has appeared and evolved alongside these changes in the industry, further categorizing people and practices who use these technologies. Defining the terms helps us draw an up-to-date map of the world of dentistry.
People who talk about digital dentistry tend to conjure up a specific kind of image to those outside of our field: operatories with sleek intraoral scanners, flat-screen monitors on rotating arm mounts that mirror the procedures in real time, and incredibly fast turnarounds on both cosmetic and restorative lab work, much of which is produced on cutting-edge millers and 3-D printers. These things are far from fantastical—each of those advancements is readily available, and while budgets and workflows make the viability of their adoption different from practice to practice, as I’ve talked about in previous articles, they are practical parts of the overall field of dentistry.”