Big gains, big smiles with Planmeca CAD/CAM

By Aleksandra Nyholm

Though dental technology has made enormous strides in the 21st century, conventional techniques and technologies remain the mainstream in many markets. At the same time, some doctors are showing the way. One of them is Dr Kennedy Opiyo.

Dr Kennedy Opiyo and the Planmeca Creo C5 dental 3D printer

Dr Kennedy Opiyo is the owner of the Lake Basin Dental and Orthodontics Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, and a long-time computer-aided design (CAD) / computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) user in a country where the technology has yet to become commonplace. In his clinic, Dr Opiyo harnesses an all-digital CAD/CAM workflow, which includes the Planmeca Emerald S intraoral scanner, Planmeca PlanMill 30 S milling unit and Planmeca Creo C5 dental 3D printer.

According to Dr Opiyo, many dentists still firmly believe in taking conventional gypsum impressions. CAD/CAM technology is seen as non-essential and costly, while traditional impression taking is familiar territory. Convincing them of the benefits of digital dentistry is not an easy challenge.

For Dr Opiyo, however, CAD/CAM has been instrumental in increasing the accuracy of his restorations – and made them fun, too: “It’s not just about making money, but enjoying what you are practicing. CAD/CAM makes the work easy.”

At the same time, there is something to be said for the money as well. Though the technology requires an initial investment, Dr Opiyo said that in the long term, it has not only generated cost savings, but increased patient satisfaction and retention in a way which has increased revenue in turn.

Nice smiles with smile design

To involve the patient in the treatment process, Dr Opiyo uses his intraoral scanner to show the patient their oral situation and the issues that they may have. Additionally, he uses Planmeca Romexis Smile Design and Planmeca Romexis 3D Ortho Studio to show the patient in advance how the treatment is going to work and what the result will look like.

“Just like with one-day dentistry, being able to show the result before the patient even has the restoration has made treatment acceptance go up 90%. Why? Because when the patient is able to see what their new smile will look like, they will tell me, ‘You know what, I’m going to raise the funds to get this crown done.’ And within two days they are back – sometimes with the whole family,” said Dr Opiyo.

“This is Planmeca for you”

Besides patient satisfaction, CAD/CAM dentistry has also allowed Dr Opiyo to take charge of the whole dental workflow from the first consultation to the final check-up. In addition to his Planmeca milling unit, which allows him to fabricate his own crowns, he recently acquired the Planmeca Creo C5 dental 3D printer in order to make his own dental models as well.

In fact, Dr Opiyo is a long-time CAD/CAM user and has experience of other systems as well. So why did he switch over to Planmeca? The clincher, Dr Opiyo said, was his visit to the AEECD Dubai conference in 2021. Coming to the event, he still had a couple of options in mind for a CAD/CAM provider, but it was at the Planmeca booth where he felt the sales team really meant business.

He said, “I went to them, and the reception was so welcoming, so convincing. I felt not just cared for, but loved. They love their customers.

“But there is another reason I chose Planmeca: it is an end-to-end solution. From point A to point Z. You scan, you mill, you process, you fit the crown on the same day. That is so convenient. Since our clinic went with Planmeca, so many dentists have come to me and said, ‘How come this system is so different?’ And I tell them, ‘Yeah, this is Planmeca for you.’”

One-day dentistry

Today’s digital dentistry is a two-way collaboration, where both the dentist and patient can work together towards a solution that meets both the patient’s diagnosis and personal wishes.

Dr Opiyo concluded: “The dentist or technician can go through the design with the patient already before milling the wax-up and even design with the patient, if the patient has the time. Then, at the end of the day, you don’t have to re-mill anything, you just ask the patient if this is ok, if the size of the teeth is ok, and they say it’s great.

“There was actually one case that me and my technician did in which a patient had chipped his tooth while eating, and he only had a couple of hours until his flight. And I said, ‘Sit down, we’ll do this with you now.’ Within 45 minutes, the patient was already on his way, and he was so happy! And he made his flight, too.”

Images: Dino Azinur