2018 Predictions: Disrupting the Oral Health Industry

Offering innovative technology paired with responsive support is a critical requirement modern oral health practitioners expect leading dental companies to fulfill. Bart Silverman, D.M.D., reveals more business necessities essential to the evolving industry.


How have the broader possibilities in the oral health industry changed the way you purchase equipment and software for your practice?

The opinions expressed on the blog are a reflection of the author and not an endorsement from Carestream Dental.

Using a Digital Workflow to Plan an Implant Case from Start to Finish

Delivering predictable restorative outcomes is essential in implant cases. Through advancements in 3D and CAD/CAM technology, oral surgeons are better able to use a complete digital workflow to plan a case, fabricate a custom abutment, and fabricate and insert the crown.

In the Implant Practice article below, I describe how I treated a patient who presented with a congenitally missing left mandibular second premolar as well as the efficiencies experienced through the use of an integrated digital workflow.

Overall, when compared with conventional dentistry, a digital workflow allows us to complete a case—such as this one—in fewer steps and with enhanced patient comfort and satisfaction in mind.

Millennials, Minor League Baseball and Mouth Guards

IMG_6789As the oral surgeon for the Rockland Boulders, a minor Canadian/American league baseball team based in Pomona, NY, I am dedicated to ensuring the players’ oral health. As part of this responsibility, I recently visited the team’s stadium to capture digital impressions in order to fabricate mouth guards.

Dental injuries are the most common type of facial injury sustained while playing sports, which makes properly designed mouth guards a necessity for injury prevention. In fact, one study estimates that mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone. Using a highly accurate digital impression to produce a custom mouth guard promotes stability, proper fit and ease of breathing—and can ultimately help prevent concussions and dentofacial injuries.

To capture digital impressions for the team, I used an intraoral scanner that can be plugged via USB into the laptop—making it easy to pack in my car and bring to the stadium. When I arrived, the team members were ready to be scanned.

As true millenials, the players were impressed by the digital technology and liked seeing the images show up instantly on the screen; in fact, some of them called their teammates into the room to check it out. Continue reading

Dentistry Abroad: Providing Oral Healthcare in St. Lucia

As doctors, we have committed to improving the lives of our patients. While we all do this on a daily basis in our local communities, providing oral healthcare to patients without the necessary dental resources can be an eye opening—and life changing—experience.

silvermanstlucia3This summer, I was asked by Great Shapes!, a non-profit program that facilitates humanitarian aid in the Caribbean, to participate in its 1000 Smiles Dental Project in St. Lucia. This trip also included the director of endodontics and three endodontic residents from the University of North Carolina as well as a pediatric dentist. I was also fortunate to have my wife Katie, an emergency room RN, and my youngest son Zach, a sophomore at Penn state, join me as volunteers during the week.

Preparing to Work Abroad

There are a number of behind-the-scenes tasks that must be completed before leaving the country. First, I applied for a temporary dental license from the government of St. Lucia that allowed me to practice dentistry while on the island.

Ensuring you have the right supplies is crucial. My local Rotary Club lent me a great deal of support by donating supplies for the trip. Additionally, I brought much of my own equipment to ensure I was able to properly diagnose and treat patients. It’s important to note here that there are also dental technology companies that will loan small, portable equipment to organizations who perform mission work. Continue reading

The Many Uses for Digital Scanners in the Field of OMS

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz around intraoral scanners from general dentists and orthodontists— computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing, or CAD/CAM, technology is changing dentistry—but how does this cutting-edge technology relate to your practice as an oral surgeon? Let me share with you a few of the ways that I have integrated digital scanning into my practice.

First, a little background: intraoral scanners take the place of conventional or analog impressions. Instead of trays, alginate or polyvinyl and pouring molds, the scanner captures digital images of a patient’s teeth, which are available almost instantly on a computer screen. These image files are then shared with a lab to create models. Also, digital scanners are small and lightweight and the more sophisticated scanners can be simply unplugged from a laptop and taken from operatory to operatory. Continue reading

Taking Digital Impressions in an OMS Practice—Less Time, Happier Patients

As an oral surgeon, I do many procedures that require impressions—fabricating surgical guides, creating appliances to correct sleep apnea, etc. I’ve seen great results when using a digital scanner to take impressions in place of conventional impression materials. Not only is the process faster and more efficient, but I’ve noticed that my patients also prefer digital impressions to the potentially gag-inducing polyvinyl or alginate.

Let’s compare the conventional way of taking impressions—the way we were all taught in school—to the new way of capturing digital impressions:

Steps in Process Traditional Impressions Digital Impresions
Step 1 Choose correct impression material (alginate or polyvinyl) Turn on scanner
Step 2 Lay out tools (mixing pads, spatulas, adhesive, various sizes of trays, etc.) Select one of two scanner tips, small or large
Step 3 Select correct maxillary and madibular trays Scan area of interst
Step 4 Prepare trays and start mixing materials Upload STL files to lab
Step 5 Take impression (possibly struggling with a patient with a strong gag reflex)
Step 6 Pour up stone model
Step 7 Wait for model to dry
Step 8 Separate model
Step 9 Trim model
Step 10 Package and ship model to lab (and hope it doesn’t break)

Continue reading

3D Imaging as a Diagnostic Tool (Clinical Case)

A few years ago, an orthodontist referred a healthy young boy to my office for evaluation. Concerned that the teen’s maxillary left second molar was not erupting, the orthodontist sent the patient to me with three serial panorexes—each taken two years apart—to review. When I first saw the panorexes, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. We even took our own panoramic image and, were unable to see anything.

Patient's Panorex

Patient’s Panorex

Continue reading