What to expect in the dental industry coming out of a pandemic

Welcome back, readers. Today, we’re continuing the conversation we started last week with DENTALEZ Dentists, Dr. Amy Ridall, DDS, MS, PhD and Dr Peter Certo, DMD.* We started with a discussion about how COVID was leaving it’s mark on the way we practice, and learn. Now, we’ll focus on technology, including the role COVID is playing.

We know that technology is moving in leaps and bounds in dental practices; at a pace not seen before and specific to dental procedures. Some coincide with issues brought into brighter light due to the pandemic and some are answering needs that exist completely alongside those heightened safety issues.

Q. What kind of new dental technology are you seeing that’s making practices safer during the pandemic?

Certo: Aerosol mitigators and air purifiers/scrubbers.

Ridall: Equipment that provides quicker, faster sterilization. And increased control over aerosol. There’s a lot of focus on improving aerosol suction.

Q. What other technology do you find dental professionals gravitating towards this year?

Certo: I’ve noticed more colleagues investing in practice management software, intra-oral scanners, milling units and digital X-Ray. Those are the big ones. Patient communication software (i.e. OperaDDS) is my office manager's favorite.

Ridall: All dentistry is going more digital including the labs, so scanning equipment is everywhere. The materials we’re using are changing - we’re seeking materials that are mill-able and printable (so, 3d printers). Anything that’s easier and better, where we have to think less - like, automated composite color matching or robotic implant placement - or gives the dentist more control, or the results are faster for the patient.

Q. When it comes to smart technology like Aeras Intelligence, how do you anticipate dental professionals using this to improve their practice and the patient experience? Or how can help dental professionals who are frustrated with sudden equipment failure, lack of technical support, etc?

Certo: Being able to monitor expensive equipment, just like a car, is smart and gives us one less thing to worry about. Early warning is key to not being ’down’ for any extended period of time. Any time not treating patients is lost revenue, not to mention the hit to the bank account for costly repairs or equipment purchases.

Ridall: Those types of technology integrations for example help us address potential equipment issues fast, and without needing to call in technical support. Or if we do need that help, they can diagnose ahead of time, remotely, and bring the right tools - all of this saves time. Those provide us peace-of-mind.

Dr. Amy Ridall, DDS, MS, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics at the University of Texas, and Coordinator of Implant Programs. She earned a DDS and a master's degree in oral biology from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, as well as a PhD in biomedical science from the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. She also completed a certificate program in prosthodontics from UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston.

Dr. Peter Certo, DMD is a Dentistry Practitioner in Upper Chichester, PA and has over 29 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from Temple University School of Medicine medical school in 1992.