Now that most of us have stopped ending our dates with 2012 and have trained ourselves to use 2013, let’s make some predictions. Dental technology is no different from consumer technology in that it will continue to march forward, and the pace of that march is ever-increasing. So here are my predictions on the five dental product categories which will take the greatest strides forward in 2013.
- Digital Impression & CAD/CAM Devices: OK, this is a no-brainer. With multiple options on the market, dentists have (finally) started to take notice in great numbers. Whether milling at the lab or milling in the dental office, digital dentistry is taking off. I look for additional entrants to come to market in 2013 and for adoption to continue to increase. Two stories I am personally eager to watch this year are S-Ray’s ultrasound scanner introduction and Amann Girrbach’s continued US market introduction of their laboratory CAD/CAM system.
- Oral-Systemic Link: The cat peeked out of the bag over the last few years, but there is definitely no secret now. Oral health is linked to overall health, and what’s good for the mouth is good for the rest of the body. I anticipate even more press this year on this topic. More companies will take notice and introduce products to help dentists become valued health care providers and not just fixers of teeth. This includes dental sleep medicine. This year the number of dentists providing therapies and services to improve breathing and sleep – and thereby overall health – for their patients will increase.
- Cloud Data Storage and Collaboration: Dental information is headed further into the cloud. Practice management software, patient education software (like Anomalous Medical), and, of course, practice website & marketing services are increasingly delivered via cloud computing. But it has evolved beyond “there’s an app for that”. Secure platforms, such as Brightsquid Dental Link, for collaboration among dentists, labs, and specialists are being developed and refined. I anticipate 2013 to be a breakthrough year for these platforms.
- Guided Implant Surgery: Dental implants have been around for years, and guided surgery is not new. However, look for guided surgery to take a leap forward in 2013. Advances in imaging technology coupled with implant planning software (check out 360imaging) and open architecture systems will help more specialists and general dentists take advantage of guided surgery. The result is, of course, more options, and in most cases, better care for patients.
- 3D Printing: 2013 will be the year of 3D printing. The dental applications are many and varied. Look for continued adoption in dental laboratories and for additional applications to begin to make their way to the dental practice.
These aren’t bold predictions. It is, however, fascinating to watch the continued development of current technologies and the emergence of new ones in the dental industry. This year more dentists and patients will continue to benefit from such advancements. It is an exciting time to be in the dental industry!
What products and technologies will you be watching this year? Please leave a comment, and let’s discuss.