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Is Digital Dentistry the Way of the Future?

Author: Katie Sowa
Katie Sowa

Katie Sowa

Katie Sowa is a proud member of the DDS Class of 2015 at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Katie has served as the first Electronic Editor of the American Student Dental association blog, Mouthing Off, as well as Editor-in-chief for ASDA. Her interests in writing and blogging stem from well before her dental school days and she’s looking forward to sharing her student perspective with The Dental Geek community. Katie completed a dual BS degree in Human Development & Family Sciences and Radio-Television-Film in 2008 from the University of Texas at Austin. Katie grew up in Houston, Texas and plans to pursue general dentistry.
08.19.14 / 9:00 am

As a fourth year dental student, my mind is always looking forward to May 2015. I have multiple countdowns set in my phone for the last day of school, the last day of WREB, and, of course, graduation. With my eyes set on the DDS to add to my name, I’m also exploring plans for the future.

It’s pretty obvious that digital technology is finding its way in all aspects of dentistry. At the most basic level, my school is completely paperless. I have yet to write any treatment notes or charting on paper. I have also never developed a film radiograph. (This is where some may insert #NewDentalSchoolBuildingProblems). This year, we’ll hopefully be introduced to CAD/CAM technology. The technology is available at our school, but obviously teaching the traditional way is most important in a school setting.

During school breaks, it never fails that I’m inundated with SnapChats of dental school colleagues watching CAD/CAM technology in an office setting. My second year in school, I had the opportunity to visit an office in Houston that uses nothing but CAD/CAM for crowns. My classmates and I left the office fired up for our next few years and potential to learn this technology. The opportunities to familiarize yourself with digital dentistry are somewhat an extracurricular activity due to the immense curriculum already in place at my dental school, though some schools offer training between the third and fourth years. Organizations such as igniteDDS partner up with dental supply companies to teach dental students digital technology, as well.

We’re slowly but surely being introduced to digital dentistry in the school setting. This is incredibly important considering many conferences are geared specifically towards this topic. Just next month, Singapore will host the CAD/CAM & Digital Dentistry International Conference, proving that digital dentistry is indeed the way of the future.

As students, we’re hungry for new technology. We want to learn to take digital impressions rather than getting messy and pouring up a cast. Some may call this “lazy”; I call it “efficient”. Looking back in time at times such as Y2K, it’s obvious having a back-up plan to technology is always a necessity. I will continue to perfect my skills the “old-fashioned” way while at school and hope to expand my knowledge via continuing education opportunities in the future.

Katie Sowa

Katie Sowa is a proud member of the DDS Class of 2015 at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Katie has served as the first Electronic Editor of the American Student Dental association blog, Mouthing Off, as well as Editor-in-chief for ASDA. Her interests in writing and blogging stem from well before her dental school days and she’s looking forward to sharing her student perspective with The Dental Geek community. Katie completed a dual BS degree in Human Development & Family Sciences and Radio-Television-Film in 2008 from the University of Texas at Austin. Katie grew up in Houston, Texas and plans to pursue general dentistry.

Katie Sowa

Katie Sowa

Katie Sowa is a proud member of the DDS Class of 2015 at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Katie has served as the first Electronic Editor of the American Student Dental association blog, Mouthing Off, as well as Editor-in-chief for ASDA. Her interests in writing and blogging stem from well before her dental school days and she’s looking forward to sharing her student perspective with The Dental Geek community. Katie completed a dual BS degree in Human Development & Family Sciences and Radio-Television-Film in 2008 from the University of Texas at Austin. Katie grew up in Houston, Texas and plans to pursue general dentistry.

8 responses to “Is Digital Dentistry the Way of the Future?”

  1. The technological advancements we’ve seen in the field in the past decade alone are staggering, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

  2. My office still uses more traditional methods, simply because we experimented with CEREC and CAD/CAM in the past with middling results. However, I agree that the advancements in dentistry, especially over the past two decades, are very exciting. While we are craftsmen and health care providers by trade, increasing market pressures are forcing us to find new and novel ways to keep up with the demands placed on us by our competition and patients.

    My office is otherwise almost completely digital and totally paperless. We haven’t used film radiography for well over a decade and all of our charts and treatment plans are stored on a server. Much less confusion and fewer missed opportunities that way.

  3. Hi Katie, great read on digital dentistry. Thanks for sharing and best of luck with your upcoming graduation from University of Texas School of Dentistry!

  4. This is interesting… no doubt digital dentistry is growing, but what about the quality of images obtained through digital imaging compared with film images? I know for a fact that film can achieve up to 20 line pairs/mm while digital struggles to see up to 13. For the talk of “advancements” in digital, that’s one area where the technology has actually stepped backward.

  5. I think your last line touched on it best.” I will continue to perfect my skills the “old-fashioned” way while at school and hope to expand my knowledge via continuing education opportunities in the future.” Couldn’t of said it better myself and you have a bright career in Dentistry ahead of you.

  6. The steady flow of ingenuity and progression of dental technology is super exciting! I see the future being 3D printers creating more and more different uses!

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