Conventional vs digital workflows

Clinical questions

How would the switch to a digital workflow benefit me in my office?
Further studies are needed to explore this, but the evidence currently available seems to suggest that the process for creating impressions is quicker using a digital workflow.

And could the laboratory deliver prostheses more quickly and more cheaply using a digital workflow?
In cases involving posterior single-implant crowns, yes. In terms of time: lab procedures are fastest when a model-free fabrication is used, as well as a pre-fabricated abutment and a monolithic design. In terms of cost: it depends on the country (labour costs, centralisation, and amortisation of equipment).

Consensus viewpoint
There is currently insufficient data available to evaluate all factors involved in a digital workflow. We are in the midst of a ‘hybrid phase’, where digital and conventional procedures are often combined. The exact division of when to use one or the other is highly dependent on individual clinicians’ preferences, and no recommendations can be made based on the present consensus. Further crossover studies are needed to evaluate digital workflows utilising different systems, under various operators’ circumstances and appropriately recording patient-related outcome measures, time-efficiency, cost-effectiveness and clinical results.
Key points
  • 1. The use of either digital or conventional procedures at any stage of the treatment process depends on the preferences of the clinician
  • 2. Digital procedures in both a clinical and lab setting may be faster and cheaper than conventional ones in some cases, but there is not enough data yet to give practical recommendations