As part of our series on 2015’s dental trends, we asked Dr. Robert Pauley to share his thoughts on what the year will bring. This is what Dr. Pauley had to say:
I am excited about all of the new dental trends developing in 2015. Dentists of all ages are becoming excited about furthering their professional development and developing new skills—the new technology that is available this coming year is mind blowing. Most importantly, the advances in communication opportunities within the dental community are endless.
Improved Continuing Education Opportunities
I am impressed with seeing so many top level clinicians continuing their education in implants and laser therapy. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to take part in courses onsite, such as the Maximus Course (a 300 + hour implant CE experience in Atlanta under the direction of Dr. Edward Mills), or to access the information from any location over the web (as can be do with the DentalXP Online Implant Externship program, under the direction of Dr. Maurice Salama). In 2015, I only see these opportunities improving.
Technology Will Continue to Enhance Our Practice
Dental technology is enhancing our daily tasks and changing the way that we plan treatment for our patients. Through digital radiographs, 3D cone beam and digital camera images, we can develop charting that will let us move into the future in terms of digital record keeping so we can remain in compliance with the federal mandated healthcare act.
I am excited to see advances and more product options with CAD/CAM this year. Our office has recently begun offering ClearCorrect aligner treatment, knowing that the ease and precision of this system will be welcomed by my patients.
The new uses for laser therapy promise to become a staple for every dental office. The international push to share ideas when developing new technological products is exciting. I visited with Yoshida Dental, headquartered in Tokyo, during the past year and utilized their Opelaser Pro CO2 laser in my practice. It is thrilling to add laser therapy in many of my procedures that previously involved a scalpel. Technological advances that allow greater patient comfort, faster healing, and reduced chairside time are close to my heart. As I visit tradeshows this year, I will also be eagerly looking for new technology to add to my practice.
Communication Opportunities—between Patients and Doctors—Will Expand
One of the most exciting trends in dentistry is not the newest and greatest restorative material, it is the enhanced communication that has come about as a result of the digital technology. In this new communication age of social media, one can easily see what is currently trending in dentistry. Not only can dental offices stay in contact with their patients via websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts, but they can also utilize social media to attract new patients and set up appointments with existing patients.
With the digital age, I believe it will become more common to collaborate and discuss patient treatment with my colleagues. I have already seen evidence of this during the past year.iiii Digital CT images are often sent to head and neck radiologists for evaluation of oral pathology, as an adjunct to information obtained primarily for dental implant placement. Digital photographs are routinely shared between clinicians, dental labs, third party carriers, and patients to assess aesthetics, and pathology. Fluorescence images can be evaluated by oral pathologist, surgeons and general dentists instantaneously to evaluate pre-cancerous lesions for other potential pathology. The digital world has brought together a network of clinicians that has enhanced the level of care by raising the bar of communication.
Blogging with fellow dentists to gain insight and get valuable advice when choosing products to purchase or discuss better ways to practice is highly beneficial. This type of communication happens on an almost weekly basis with my Advanced Dental Implant Studies synergy group. Dr. Mills suggested that the digital world has eliminated the trend of dentists practicing like individual islands.
The digital age and advances in technology have provided us a means of practicing dentistry in a way to document our treatment and develop protocols to not only help ourselves with future treatment, but to instantly interact and communicate those protocols and treatments with our colleagues—ultimately letting us grow enhanced patient-oriented practices.