Digital Technologies

A section of Dentistry Journal (ISSN 2304-6767).

Section Information

The digital revolution has transformed the world of dentistry. Intraoral, desktop, and face scanners; dynamic articulators; cone beam computed tomography (CBCT); computer-assisted design/computer-assisted manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software; milling machines and 3D printers; new materials; and virtual/augmented reality all represent an opportunity to improve the quality of dentistry work. Nowadays, a dentist can acquire a wealth of 3D information about a patient—both static and dynamic (models of teeth, skull and face, mandibular movements)—that is useful in the diagnosis and planning of therapies. This information is superimposed and combined, and the patient becomes “virtual”. The improved diagnostic precision reduces errors, and 3D therapy planning opens the way to obtaining highly predictable results with minimal invasiveness and the use of compatible and aesthetic materials. Dentistry becomes “digital”, with the planning of computer therapies becoming a key moment in the profession and resulting in a complete change in all workflows—whether in surgery, prosthesis, or orthodontics. Guided surgery allows for planning the position of implants in 3D, on the computer, and to transfer this into the clinic through the use of static surgical templates or dynamic navigation. This allows implants to be inserted in the desired position, inclination, and depth, in agreement with the prosthetic project and using a minimally invasive approach (i.e., flapless). The operation is faster, and the patient’s discomfort is reduced. Digital approaches also help in programming interventions such as the extraction of included teeth or the removal of cysts. In regenerative surgery, it is now possible to print, in 3D, customized grids (mesh) for bone regeneration and custom-made bone grafts with synthetic material; finally, it is now also possible to produce custom-made implants for maxillofacial use. In prosthesis, the traditional impressions with trays and materials are being replaced by optical impressions obtained using an intraoral scanner. Patients also prefer optical impressions as the discomfort linked to obtaining traditional impressions can then be avoided. Moreover, intraoral scanners are a communication and marketing tool, and make the workflow more efficient. In fact, the files captured with an intraoral scanner are e-mailed to a digital laboratory equipped with CAD/CAM software, and prototyping machines (milling units and printers) design and fabricate various types of restorations using highly aesthetic and compatible materials, such as zirconia and lithium disilicate. The same orthodontic workflow is deeply transformed—from diagnosis to planning up to the execution of therapies.

The Section “Digital Technologies” of Dentistry J. aims to collect different research and clinical studies, narrative and systematic reviews, and case series and case reports on digital dentistry topics.

Keywords

desktop scanners; intraoral scanners; face scanners; dynamic articulators; software; CAD/CAM; guided surgery; custom-made; aligners

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Topic Board

Special Issues

Following special issues within this section are currently open for submissions:

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