The Renaissance of Dental Technology
Daniel Alter MSC, MDT, CDT
Dental technology has changed significantly in recent years, with the profession assuming new business models, utilizing digital workflow. Dentistry as whole experienced transformations, which propagated this change further; competition from foreign soil competing over price, coupled with domestic and international economic challenges, found the domestic dental technology profession in a state of consolidation and constriction. How does it affect you? As a practicing Dentist, your restorative options may be compromised with regards to consistency, quality and adulterated materials, creating an unnecessary elevated level of stress and anxiety. As a dental technician and laboratory, competing on price alone is a direct spiral downwards towards an end. Dental technicians must elevate their expertise and skills in technology to survive the current competitive environment. As a dental manufacturer, with the decline of strong and knowledgeable decision makers, a decline in sales will certainly follow. Forward-thinking dental professionals reformed with the ever-changing environment while embracing emerging technology and leveraging it as their competitive edge. These reforms are starting to affect restorative work returning to domestic laboratories. However, along with change, come growing pains and learning curves.
Untapped resources for these solutions are present right under our noses, but many times unrealized. The national academic dental technology programs are in a current state of crisis; excluding a handful of forward-thinking and embracing programs. The current void in the profession can easily be filled by the students in these programs. These students, many times, were raised using similar technology and can quickly and easily grasp the digital workflow of CAD/CAM dental solutions. This would furthermore increase their employ-ability and earning potential upon entering the profession. The difference between these technicians and the previously mentioned “gamers” rests in that they are concurrently being trained to be dental technicians, understanding the fundamentals of what makes a dental restoration succeed in the oral cavity and be accepted by a patient and clinician.
- Daniel Alter