Digital Workflow

The workflow starts before the scan

ALS Dental’s UK manufacturing sites are often involved in the planning stages of our customer’s cases. We believe that close communication delivers a better outcome for dentist and patient. Digital technologies enhance the level of interaction between dental technician, dentist, and patient. This support could be; showing aligner outcomes; restorative digital smile designs; advising on restorative components for implant cases; monitoring wear; digital set-ups for complete dentures; partial denture designs; or orthodontic appliance design. 

Taking the intra oral scan

Once the case is planned, the next stage usually involves either an impression or more commonly, an intra oral scanner (IO scanner). 

According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of ‘The Tipping Point’, the moment when critical mass is reached is when approximately 20% of the market has adopted. At that time, exponential growth follows. IO scanner adoption rates in the UK have crossed the tipping point. With more and more IO scanners on the market to choose from and increased adopters, ALS Dental work with every IO scanner and manufacturer and can offer help and impartial advice. We offer a unique and totally impartial consultation service, known as ‘The 22’, for those dentists who are considering which IO scanner is best suited for their needs.

Our Digital Business Director, David Claridge lectures widely on the topic of IO scanners and their workflow indications. IO scanners are business tools, not toys and so we help our customers get the best return on investment from their investment. ALS Dental does not sell IO Scanners but we are totally invested in the digital files they export to us and do everything we can do support our dentists, on their new learning curve.  

Training assistance

We like to be involved from the outset of our customer’s digital journey. It could be argued that our technicians view scans from a different perspective than our customers and may be able to offer remote advice, by viewing the scan in real time, whilst it is being taken. 

Occasionally we receive an IO scan which the technician believes needs to be retaken. After all a scanner is still operated by a human being, and we are fallible. ALS Dental believe that it is not supporting our customers to the best of our ability, by simply asking for a scan to be retaken. All our CAD technicians have been trained on ‘triaging our customers IO scans’. They are therefore able to offer reasons for the error and so help irradicate repeat issues. 

Digital workflow partners 

We see our relationships with our customers as partnerships. Digital workflows have greatly advanced the communication tools between laboratory, dentist, and patient. Communication can be immediate ie whilst the patient is still in the chair. Consider the digital scenario – the dentist sends IO scans for a duplicated F/F denture case. The case is booked in advance so that our technician is aware of its arrival. Approximately 3-4 minutes after receiving the scan, the technician starts working on a digital virtual try-in. A short time later, this is presented virtually/remotely to the dentists and patient. Adjustments are made and ‘signed off’, and the try-in goes straight to fit.  By working closely together a milled or printed F/F denture can go from scan and try-in in one appointment, and the next appointment is to fit the denture. 

This is just one example of the benefits that working digitally can bring to the dentist, patient, and ALS DENTAL UK manufacturing sites. 

Next steps 

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised above, be it case planning; helping you choose which IO scanner best suits you and your colleagues; helping you increase your treatment uptake rates; through to cutting edge new digital workflows and services we are pioneering, we would be very happy to discuss this with you.