30 years ago, with the introduction of digital scanning, a new window was opened for dentistry. Since then, the design and handling of the scanning units have gotten smaller, faster and more accurate, but the way they are used hasn’t changed significantly. The dentist scans the patient’s teeth and checks the monitor at the same time for the correct scanning outcome. This requires a constant change of the dentist’s posture and creates non-optimal ergonomic movements.
We are by nature comfortable with keeping an eye on what we are doing with our hands. Scanners generally require us to watch the screen for scan results while manipulating the device in the mouth. If the patient presents with challenges, (e.g. irregular teeth, reduced intraoral access) the need to turn our heads towards the screen while moving the hands can lead the operator to feel inept and the patient to a less-than-optimum experience.
Related problems are known in automotive production or aeronautical engineering in which the industrial cooperation between human beings and machines is vital – for this the solution is the ‘Heads-up Display.’ The important data about the task at hand and relevant measurements (automotive production) or information about speed, altitude, course, etc. (in aeronautical engineering) are projected into the heads-up display so that the wearer has the information directly in his or her field of vision and can concentrate on the task at hand. Recently, heads-up display is entering the world of medicine in surgery, where the doctor can monitor patient data while operating.
This principle is the basis for eyeCAD-connect®, implemented into digital dentistry and first launched in March of 2015 at the IDS (International Dentistry Show) in Cologne, Germany. The scanned images are transferred in real time onto the display device so the hand/eye coordination of the operator improves significantly. The risk of inadvertent, uncomfortable contact with the patient while looking away is eliminated. While performing the scan the practitioner can see both the scan screen and the patient at the same time. The ‘screen size’ of the scan image is adjustable, according to his or her needs, right in their field of vision.
Video glasses have been available for years, enabling dental patients to enjoy movies and other content as a distraction from the dental appointment. These are universally opaque, bulky, and completely different from the Epson Moverio BT-200, an advanced imaging system commercially available. What was missing was the ability to connect the scanner in real time, so Dr. Holtorf developed the eyeCAD-connect® software to take advantage of this advanced video system. Using a nano router to create a tiny local network, there is no interaction with vulnerable and unreliable wireless networks or slow Bluetooth connections.
This innovative German dentist wanted to stay in contact with his patients during the appointments, cut the patient’s time not only in the dentist chair but also their time waiting for their new milled dental restorations. Other benefits include improved workflow and overall quality of the scans. Patients can even wear the glasses to see how their crowns, inlays or especially orthodontic plans are being created in the software. For full arch study models and 3D bite records for sleep appliances, the patient can see their teeth appear on screen and get a nice visual representation of the forward jaw position chosen as a starting place to open their airway.
The glasses run on an Android system and come with all consumer apps (camera, Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, etc.) They can be used outside the office for remotely connecting to any screen. The integrated software provides a secure connection between the scanning unit and the smart glasses using the nano router. By creating its own WiFi network around the unit, sensitive patient data stays in the office -no outside internet connection is needed. The glasses and the nano router operate wirelessly for maximum freedom of positioning the scanning unit and ease of movement for the dentist and patient.
eyeCAD-connect® can be used for any PC-based intraoral scanner. There are also international market versions.
Clinician feedback has reported improved scan times, better patient experience and more comfortable use, leading to a faster integration of digital impressions in the daily practice. Delegating this task to trained team members enhances their contribution to office goals. This improves the return on investment for the technology.
Visit http://eyecad-connect.de for more information.