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20 Nov 2018 | Press Release

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Digital tools are reshuffling the cards - recognise the opportunities in orthodontics now!


Diagnostics, therapy planning, therapy and aftercare - these are the four classic pillars of orthodontics, but the tools and solutions are changing. Above all digital strategies have sustainably changed this specialised discipline over the last years. The visitors of the International Dental Show (IDS), 12 to 16 March 2019 will learn first-hand in Cologne, which current developments are pushing orthodontics forward.

Orthodontic diagnostic and therapy planning: optionally analogue or digital

Today, the following applies for orthodontics as a whole: Every practice owner considers upgrading with digital technologies, the new founders rely on largely, if not completely, digitalised workflows from the outset probably: Analogue and digital 2D X-rays are being replaced by 3D X-rays. CT and MRT scans are also consulted, cases documented by digital photos or moulded using the intra-oral scanner, patient data is digitally managed.

Digital or a mixture between analogue/digital methods can be implemented for planning the treatment (intra oral scan or digitalisation of a plaster model). Through the trend towards more open formats and generally more open systems, inputting the moulding data into the planning software becomes more and more simple and the entire planning becomes easier. Particularly interesting here: A virtual set-up and also the design of orthodontic equipment is created based on purely virtual models.

To what extent, the dental technician is also involved and which tasks he is subsequently assigned with (i.e. printing physical models, manufacturing the equipment and finally the transfer tray) is handled very flexibly today. The necessary data can be sent to and fro following the method the practice and laboratory have laid down as their optimal workflow. This also offers the specialised dental technician new opportunities. The visitor will experience different procedures at IDS 2019 and can gain valuable ideas there.

Support through artificial intelligence - piecing difficult things together

One cannot estimate today how high the share of artificial intelligence-based procedures, which are implemented in the orthodontic therapy in the future, will be. Mid-term further software tools for the creation of set-ups or warnings against too extreme tooth movements are conceivable, because the database for the statistically reliable substantiation of these tools is constantly growing.

The piecing together of individual parts of more complex equipment still proves rather difficult from today's standpoint. Here too the alternative of producing as much as possible in one piece using digital methods is being accorded greater importance. Last, but not least it comes down to which of the many tasks of the orthodontic treatment the computer can take over with tangible cost advantages.

Aligner therapy example

The therapy with aligners is as an example of the change brought about by digital technologies. It enfolds its benefits for example for the preparation of measures in the aesthetic dentistry section (i.e. straight teeth as a prerequisite for applying veneer) and generally as an alternative for patients that find braces too noticeable.

It is not all that long ago and yet in the field of orthodontics it seems like an eternity: In the 1990s one worked in a conventional manner - with a manual set-up from the laboratory and deep-drawing aligners. Today, the intra oral camera or as an alternative to this the digitalisation of a conventionally produced model in the extra oral scanner dominate the scene. At IDS, the visitor will have the opportunity to inspect many different products from this section and short list those that are best suited to the orthodontic requirements of his practice or laboratory.

The entire planning can be done per monitor, several software systems are available for this purpose. The visitors to IDS will for instance find combinations between "intra oral cameras + software", very extensive variants (i.e. including the creation of individual attachments) and programmes that can operated in a particularly intuitive way. They use either the practice's own printer or that of the dental technician's laboratory or external service providers for the dental industry through to the pre-press for the 3D printing of physical sprocket models. The production of the aligners themselves usually occurs in the laboratory.

Depending on the design, a virtual target set-up is prescribed or interim targets are additionally defined. In this way, for example complex tooth movements can be subclassified (i.e. in protrusion and rotation). Complex treatments are also possible (i.e. aligner treatment + multi-bracket treatment in the opposing jaw). Those who would like to see more should take a look at the software options with virtual reality functions (including the test with VR goggles) at IDS.

"IDS 2019 will help its visitors advance forward in all these points," Mark Stephen Pace, Chairman of the Association of the German Dental Manufacturers, is convinced. "This is important because carrying out a consistent orthodontic treatment at an early point in time enables the avoidance of complications in later years from the very beginning. The world's biggest showcase for dental medicine and dental technology in Cologne from 12 to 16 March 2019 contributes greatly to this."

IDS (International Dental Show) takes place in Cologne every two years and is organised by the GFDI Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Dental-Industrie mbH, the commercial enterprise of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers (VDDI) and is staged by Koelnmesse GmbH, Cologne.

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