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Digital Workflow – An Anti-Cross-Infection Solution for Your Dental Clinic

Dr. Ashutosh

Digital Workflow – An Anti-Cross-Infection Solution for Your Dental Clinic

Dental practitioners are exposed to a variety of infectious disease agents found in patients’ saliva and blood, necessitating infection control and universal prevention methods in the dental office, considering that some of these diseases result in lost work and time for dental staff and patients, potentially cause complications, and have a low success rate.

Moreover, if proper precautions are not taken, the dental clinic may expose patients to infection, particularly the most susceptible (elderly, diabetic, and immunocompromised patients).

As we are all conscious of the current situation, we are all fighting this pandemic together. We are now more concerned about the safety of our staff and patients.

Digital Workflow

The New Normal now requires the dentist and even the patient to wear a PPE kit, a face shield, and other safety equipment.

From the moment a patient walks into a dental clinic until the end of treatment, everything must be kept safe.

Traditional Workflow

When compared to traditional workflow, computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology has become amazingly prominent among dental technicians since it greatly saves expenses and working time, requires fewer stages, and reduces the sources of error.

Analogue Way Of Dentistry

And if we talk about Impression making, we have to deal with multiple challenges Such as

  1. Gag reflex
  2. Unpleasant patient experience
  3. The bad taste of impression material
  4. Discomfort from impression tray 

           And much more…

Where the major concern is cross-contamination of Impression which can occur anywhere from the patient to the dentist and their employees.

Let Us Understand The Analogue Way Of Dentistry

Analog impression making entails several phases, beginning with the mixing of impression materials, followed by impression making, gypsum mixing, and model pouring. In this process, there are multiple handling of impressions which can lead to contamination of impression.

There are few Disadvantages of Analogue Impression Making

    • Time-consuming
    • Messy
    • Unpredictable
    • Material waste
    • Unhygienic (Risk of contamination increases) 
    • Material shrinkage due to temperature change 
    • Patient Gag Reflex
    • Moreover, air bubbles or porosity on the dental plaster model

Analogue Impression Making

Which is now a major concern for the dental fraternity & how to overcome this? 

To overcome with this, we have an option to switch toward the digital dentistry the future of the dental industry

4 Claims show digital is better for reducing cross-infection risk

  • Conventional Impression & cast handling between clinic & lab can increase cross-infection risk 
  •  Manual creation of appliances/ Restoration in the lab increases contamination risk in the lab
  •  Analog Impression requires an additional step of material handling & transportation to the lab
  •  Conventional Impressions can be challenging to disinfect, Digital scans require no disinfection

Classification according to risk (Spaulding criteria)

Semi & Non Semi Critical Part

Any Digital Intraoral scanner having Autoclavable scanning tips which go inside the mouth is a semi-critical part.

Because we have an option to perform cold sterilization followed by the Dental Autoclave procedure which ensures the proper cleaning of scanning tips and maintain the cross-contamination from one patient to the other member.

Digital Impression making improves infection control & minimizes cross-contamination in Dental Practice

Reduce patient time in the operatory and conduct consultations virtually 

  • Complete full impressions within minutes aided by artificial intelligence
  • Confirm impressions with your lab before the patient leaves the chair 
  • Capture and send accurate occlusion for the perfect fit 
  • Allow your patients to evaluate treatment plan procedures from their home

Limit cross-contamination during the digital impression process

  • Work through entire impression and inspection procedures by moving the scanner 
  • Operate freely at a distance 
  • Sterilize the scanning tips that make intraoral contact with an autoclave 
  • Reduce discomfort, gagging, and anxiety to patients caused by analog impressions.

Analog Impressions

Maintain infection control during post processing and production 

  • Send impressions completely digitally to help maintain infection control. 
  • Create appliances and restorations digitally and reduce contamination risks in the lab 
  • Conventional impressions/casts that are transported to/from a lab increases the risk of cross-infection

Coventional Impressions

Three ways powered digital workflows help you to mitigate cross-contamination issues.

  1. Digital impressions are sent to production online – there’s no handling
  2. Many treatments are produced with completely digital workflows
  3. Patients can review various treatment proposals from their phone at home

Advantages of Using An Intraoral Scanner:

  •  Less engagement with the oral cavity
  •  No need to disinfect Digital Scans 
  •  Easy communication with the lab 
  •  Less person to person contacts in terms of material handling & carrying the impressions
  •  Faster impression taking
  •  Patient Records are saved 
  •  Predictable Treatments

So, 

Going Digital will help us in many ways

  1. It improves patient experience
  2. Limited manual errors
  3. Easy impression making
  4. Save time
  5. Save on material cost
  6. And most important it helps to provide better and safe treatment to our patients 

Conclusion: 

Digital impressions are slowly gaining acceptance in the modern field of dentistry. Digital Dental Intraoral scanners are becoming a crucial tool for dentists who want to not only survive but also prosper in the modern world of dentistry, with the need to shorten patients’ time in the office and the stakes for infection control being considerably greater. What’s more exciting is the array of possibilities available to you once you’ve taken that first step.

Going digital will not only assist dental practitioners in providing better care to their patients, but it will also aid in the prevention of cross-contamination.

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