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26 Mar 2024

Embracing digital dentistry and guided surgery planning

Embracing digital dentistry and guided surgery planning

Lola Welch discusses the evolving landscape of dental technology and emphasises the importance of embracing digital advancements for successful patient care and professional growth 

Can you introduce yourself and share a bit about your background? 

I'm Lola Welch, a senior prosthetic technician with nearly two decades of experience in the UK dental industry. I currently work at Ceramic Designs Lab in the Hove / Brighton area. My expertise is in implant restoration, and I've dedicated my career to working with implants since my arrival in the UK nearly 20 years ago. 

What will you be discussing at Dental Technology Showcase? 

At the Show, I'll be involved in several activities including demos for DenTech and Skillbond Direct, focusing on the customisation of digital dentures. One highlight of my participation will be a lecture entitled ‘Guided Surgery Planning 101.’ This lecture aims to introduce dental technicians and clinicians to digital implant planning, guide design and manufacture, covering everything from software selection to the legal and anatomical considerations in implant planning. 

For those unfamiliar, can you briefly explain computer-guided surgery? 

Computer-guided surgery involves using CT scans, intraoral scans, or models to plan implant placements precisely. It allows us to position implants based on optimal anatomy and prosthetic outcomes, moving away from the traditional method of eyeballing to a more accurate, nanometer precision approach. As a technician, I'm involved from the initial stages, planning the implant's position to ensure both anatomical suitability and prosthetic functionality. 

What misconceptions about digital dentistry do you hope to dispel? 

A common misconception is the fear of digital dentistry replacing traditional roles. However, I see it as an opportunity to enhance our role within the dental team. I encourage people not to be intimidated but to approach digital dentistry with curiosity and patience. It's a fun and rewarding field that, with practise, can be mastered by anyone, regardless of their initial tech savviness. 

How is digital technology transforming dental labs? 

Digital technology is already revolutionising dental labs, from in-house milling to daily 3D printing. It simplifies processes, allowing more time for customisation and artistic expression. I view our profession as a blend of art, medicine and science, and digital dentistry enables us to maintain that balance, while improving efficiency and outcomes. 

What are you looking forward to at DTS? 

Dental Technology Showcase is an excellent opportunity for education, networking, and discovering new developments in materials and machines. It's a chance to meet industry peers from across the country and learn about the latest trends and innovations. I'm excited about the educational aspects, the networking opportunities, and the potential to find new tools and materials that can enhance our work. 

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