An exciting year is ahead, if you ask me. Dentistry is accelerating at lightning speed, and new technology and innovations are coming up left and right. Here's my take on what we can expect from digital innovations in dentistry.
Platforms are disrupting industries and changing the way we live. The practice management system will remain the cornerstone of the digital clinic, but all major dental technology companies are now offering or launching platforms. The question is who is best positioned to win?
The adaption of intraoral scanners (IOS) dramatically accelerated in 2021. This will continue into 2022. Penetration is already reaching 30-35% in the US and mature markets. We also see very rapid growth in the number of IOS cases that drive digitalization throughout the clinic and across workflows. Future IOS usage will go far beyond a digital impression just replacing an analog impression.
3D printers are the other hot item in the digital category. The true game-changer is 3D printing materials. New and improved materials are being released every day. Driven by new printing materials, splints of high quality were widely printed in 2021. 2022 will most likely be the year that we see 100% 3D printed final dentures take off. This will certainly disrupt the removable market. Ultimately, all indications have the potential to be 3D printed and a major question is how deep 3D printers will penetrate the clinic?
2021 was the year where Artificial Intelligence (AI) finally made its mark on CAD/CAM. 3Shape Automate, our solution that enables a scan to be uploaded to the cloud and 100% designed using AI truly disrupted the market. There is going to be much more AI in 2022. AI is making computers and people smarter and faster across all applications in digital dentistry.
Cosmetic dentistry and more than anything, Clear Aligners will continue to push digitalization forward, driven by consumer demand for beauty. The big missing indication in CAD/CAM is dentures, but this is changing fast with 3-digit growth in cases pushed forward by the very strong benefit to clinics and increased efficiency.