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Interview, Medit Masters

Interview: Dr. Cho Sung-joo on Why Digital Dentistry is the Future

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We met Dr. Cho Sung-joo, the representative director of Orthodontics at Lucent Clinic and an active user of our Medit i500 intraoral scanner. He shares with us why he thinks digital dentistry is the future. 


Could you begin by giving us a brief introduction of your clinic?

Lucent Clinic is a dental clinic which utilizes the latest technology in digital dentistry, particularly focusing on orthodontic treatment. We also have AI calibration measurement solutions using data, as well as design centers specializing in in-house orthodontic designs. This allows us to provide more helpful information to patients, effectively set up treatment plans and shorten treatment time.




Did the clinic specialize in digital treatments from the beginning?

In the beginning, scanning wasn’t commercialized. This was due to the fact that the speed was too slow, and the range was too limited, so it was mainly used as a scanner for dental models. The whole process from scanning the patient’s oral cavity to consultation and finally clinical use was too time-consuming. So, in the past, even though we had an intraoral scanner, I didn’t really use it much due to the lack of accuracy as well as how time-consuming it was. However, the technology has greatly improved, and technicians have also further developed their skills, so it has become possible to use it in actual clinical practice. At the end of the day, I think that the most important thing about the clinical usability of a scanner is how familiar the user is with that technologu.


What is an advantage of intraoral scanners as compared to traditional impressions?

The most important thing for domestic use would be the ability to provide information to patients. When information is provided correctly, patients will be able to better understand the situation, leading to increased consent rates for treatments. Scanners can provide more accurate information since scan data can be displayed in real-time, allowing patients to see information they would otherwise not have been able to see when doing traditional impressions. Also, with adequate explanation, we can gain the patients’ understanding and hence, consent for treatments.


Is the patient consent rate actually high?

Yes, of course. Firstly, in order to agree to the treatment, you would need to have faith in your doctors. By objectively explaining using accurate information, the doctor will appear more reliable and credible, hence increasing the patient’s trust in the doctor. This naturally leads to higher consent rates.




How was it like in the past before going digital?

In the past, all we did was to just take photos. In the early 90s, we took photos using a film camera. The film would then need to be developed and if there were any issues, it took a long time to go through the whole process again. Once the digital camera was invented, it was of course more convenient as you could immediately see the photos after taking the shots. 3D scanners go beyond just showing you images in real-time but also allow you to look at the data in three-dimension and more specifically, allow the patients and technicians to see things in a more concrete manner.


How did the actual treatment process change after using intraoral scanners?

We often use intraoral scanning for orthodontic treatments due to the need for constant, regular assessment. It is very useful to be able to determine how the teeth is shifting in a whole, three-dimensional way, rather than simply looking at pictures or X-rays – such as when doing a pre-surgery and post-surgery evaluation, or before and after an extraction.


Although it is still quicker and more comfortable to show patients photos taken with digital cameras, doctors are actively using intraoral scanner data in order to evaluate treatment results, as well as present the findings within the medical community.


Have you tried many different scanners?

Yes, I’ve tried different scanners in the past. I felt that it was not very portable since it was integrated with the PC, and it was also uncomfortable because I was unable to save the data in the format that I wanted it in. So, I checked out conversion tools, but they would have cost me a lot more.


What is really needed in the field is scalability and versatility, which were factors that I could really feel when using Medit. Versatility. I can install it on any PC, and I can export and view the data in the format that I want. It’s very easy and useful to have such a setting – that was what I thought. The speed has also improved a lot after the updates. I look forward to even quicker results in future.




Do you also use scan data to design brackets and braces?

Yes, that’s right. In fact, we’re using scan data from the Medit i500 to create them, and the results have been very accurate. There was also no inconvenience to the patients regarding bracket placements. They say the precision is good but it’s a technical explanation to go into details about micron units. For braces, it would be easy to make adjustments later, but I believe that there is no issue to use Medit scan data for actual clinical practice.


If you could let us know any hopes you may have for Medit?

In the future, orthodontic dentistry will be digital. It’s already becoming increasingly so. I think that if we use intraoral scans not just for simple treatments but also for consultations, it would be a lot more marketable. I think that factors such as time, user interface and the versatility of data are very important in order to use the system for consultation purposes rather than for research. I hope that Medit will take these factors into consideration for orthodontic solutions.


Thank you for sharing your time and insights with us through this interview!


Dr Cho Sung-joo is the Representative Director of Orthodontics from Lucent Clinic, a dental clinic located in Seoul, South Korea. 


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