In the most literal sense, to digitize something means to turn it into digits or numbers. In a more practical sense, it means turning something into the electronic language a computer can understand.
Digital information can be many things including words, numbers, photos, x-rays, sounds, movies or even solid objects (like teeth).
Once an item is digitized, there are three very significant things you can do with it. You can store transmit and manipulate or enhance it using a computer or a computer network; in other words, you can take a digital impression and store it on a server it does not get lost taking up space on a closet shelf. You can transmit it to a lab instantly, no boxes and FedEx trucks needed. And you can design a crown onscreen with no wax and Bunsen burner.
In the very near future, we will be able to eliminate plaster models and use a virtual model for all our diagnostic treatment planning and documentation needs. The virtual model can be manipulated on screen to view the teeth from any direction and treatment options are easy to simulate.
In today’s practice, what does digital mean to you?