Dental fieldThe growth of digital technology in Italian dentistry

The growth of digital technology in Italian dentistry

The two main drivers guiding the development of the dental sector are as follows:

  1. The need to provide basic dental services and educate on prevention less affluent segments with a high incidence of immigrants, who suffer from dental problems directly deriving from health diseases.
  2. The pursuit by the more affluent share of the population of psychosocial well-being strongly connected to aesthetics and permanent rehabilitations, even at an advanced age.

The advent of digital technology has a significant impact on the dental sector. Technological integration in practices allows the creation of a modern context for quality dental care that is accessible to the population. Technological development enables in-house production of prosthetic and orthodontic models under private labels, with lower economic impact than direct purchases from manufacturers. The economic advantage is combined with the temporal one, allowing professionals significant time savings through remote monitoring systems linked to tele-dentistry.

Digital integration also influences the aesthetic orientation of practices. It enables the use of more “aesthetic” prosthetic materials, otherwise unmanageable with traditional techniques, and reduces the invasiveness of surgical interventions. It allows also and above all the planning and simulation of surgical treatments and orthodontic aligners. The opportunity for patients to visualize the final result is a fundamental boost for the development of aesthetic orthodontics, as visualization positively influences the decision to undergo treatment.

The aesthetic aspect has become a cornerstone of dental offerings, guiding positioning strategies, the range of services provided and communication with patients. To enter the aesthetic field allows for a multidisciplinary approach, creating synergies between different branches of dentistry (e.g., orthodontics, periodontology and prosthetics for complex cases) to expand the scope of patient diagnosis and care.

Digital development also positively impacts dental patients by reducing information gaps about health, creating new approaches, including communicative ones and “purchase” locations, while positively affecting quality of life by reducing the gap between “sick” longevity and healthy life expectancy. The growing need for psychosocial well-being structurally influences dental and orthodontic demand.

The limitation to the widespread adoption of a digital workflow by dental practices is not the lack of technology acquisition but the difficulty of making these technologies central and harmonize them into an integrated workflow. The digitalization of processes essentially presupposes a willingness for total dematerialization, which clashes with a persistent generational factor and a “mature” profession with established habits and ways of working. The required cognitive leap and learning times influence the diffusion of the digital model in dental practices, which will only see full application with the advent of younger generations, who are more inclined towards complete digitalization of processes but will not be autonomous decision-makers in the nearest future.

Key-Stone’s digital observatory

Key-Stone’s upcoming project, available from early 2024, will analyze the landscape, penetration and usage of digital-workflow-related technology and brands, actively involving dental and orthodontic practices.

With Key-Stone, the “Digital Observatory” is thus established, starting with an initial whitepaper focused on the Italian market. Subsequently, the project intends to investigate the digital scenario in the major European countries.
Do you need more information about the project? Contact us to request further details.