As an industry, dentistry is continuing to incorporate and adopt the latest in digital technology. Newly available equipment, materials and products are rising expectations and bringing exciting times for businesses1. Top dental laboratories are increasingly employing cutting-edge innovative technology, which can ultimately improve productivity and create a faster, more efficient workflow. Reproducibility and accuracy is enhanced, along with faster turn around times and increased product consistency. Overall patient satisfaction is significantly enhanced. Happier patients are more likely to return for replacement products, regular check-ups and possibly, non-essential treatments in the future, which could impact financially on practices.
These technological changes are however, proving problematic in the education process. Recent research has highlighted that dental schools are currently struggling with the adoption of emerging technologies and the integration of these technologies into the educational process2. With the achievable accuracy of digital technology depending heavily on operator skills, additional system-specific training and experience is required for dental technicians3.
Providing technicians with high quality training is essential to enable them to utilise the latest equipment maximally, to deliver excellent quality work and an invaluable service to practices. Industry-based research has been an important factor in developing new products and technologies and in promoting oral health. However, as the use of technology continues to increase, there is a need to facilitate the introduction of these developments at an early stage in the education process.
In the future, young people, businesses, the British dental industry and the UK economy may benefit from an innovative dental apprenticeship scheme, developed through the Government’s Trailblazers programme. Apprenticeships can offer young people the opportunity to learn on the job, building up essential knowledge and experience to enable them to become experts in their chosen field. Through high quality training and mentoring, businesses can create a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
Sparkle Dental Labs, launched by Mustafa Mohammed in 2012, is one company looking to offer apprenticeships in the future, giving young people the chance to acquire new skills and qualifications. Based in the UK, the laboratory already provides newly qualified dental students with the opportunity to gain valuable experience and expertise through a highly successful training programme. Individuals are able to benefit from top quality support and instruction, learning to use state-of-the-art equipment and the most advanced technology and techniques. All work is produced to the highest standard, made of first-class materials and with full traceability. With dedicated teams for implants and orthodontics as well, practices can have confidence in the service received from Sparkle Dental Labs.
Digital technology is rapidly developing and becoming the standard production tool in top dental laboratories. By utilising the latest in equipment, along with well trained, highly skilled technicians, labs can provide faster turnaround times, consistently high quality products and excellent service. Practitioners are therefore encouraged to work with a state-of-the-art laboratory to improve productivity and offer a better experience for patients.
1 van Noort, R. (2012). The future of dental devices is digital. Dental Materials, 1, 3-12.
2 Stein, C. D., Eisenberg, E. S., O’Donnell, J. A., & Spallek, H. (2014). What dental educators need to understand about emerging technologies to incorporate them effectively into the educational process. Journal of Dental Education, 78, 520-529.
3 Schaefer, O., et al. (2014). Impact of digital impression techniques on the adaption of ceramic partial crown in vitro. Journal of Dentistry, 42, 677-683.