The 'MVP' of dental technology today, per 1 dentist leader

Intraoral scanners have become an important tool for dental practices because of their broad application for dental impressions, one dentist shared with Becker's.

Theresa Wang, DDS, is the vice president of clinical innovation, clinical director and prosthodontist at the ClearChoice Dental Implant Center in Schaumburg, Ill. She recently spoke with Becker's about the trends she is following in dentistry, her predictions for the future of the industry and the challenges facing dentists today.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What are the biggest challenges facing the industry? How do these challenges compare to five to 10 years ago?
Dr. Theresa Wang:
The debt that's taken out for dental education has increased by more than 25 percent over the past 10 years. In addition, new graduates are entering the workforce at a time with unique macroeconomic factors to consider.

Q: What technologies/innovations are coming into the industry that will improve efficiency and quality of care?
TW:
Several technological advancements are transforming our industry in a meaningful way. Intraoral scanners for dental impressions are more user-friendly and accurate than ever. The variety of applications including orthodontic aligners, occlusal guards, dental crowns and partial/full dentures makes the intraoral scanner the technology MVP in a dental practice. Optimized and more stable 3D-printed dental materials are also going to be a game changer. These new materials have the potential to create both time and cost efficiencies.

Q: How do you see the industry evolving in the next three to five years?
TW:
The industry will continue to become more efficient and patient-centric because of the pace that technological enhancements and innovation are occurring in our space.

Q: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
TW:
The oral-systemic link has been studied for more than 30 years, and the evidence supporting it continues to grow and be more compelling. I'd like to see us lock arms with medical professionals and become a collaborative voice in educating the public more visibly.

Q: What industry trends are you following?
TW:
Two high-potential advancements that are still in their beginning phases of development include [artificial intelligence] for full arch design and robotic-assisted surgery.

Q: What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given during your career?
TW:
Do something that you're great at, that you enjoy doing and that is an act of service for the betterment of society.

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