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January 4, 2022

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season.

I came across this well-written piece on social media by Rune Fisker, the VP of Product Strategy, Business Unit Director, Dental Lab and Dental Clinic at 3Shape, and I had to share it with you.

I asked if I could post it on iDD and he said it would be an honor, so here it is.

I completely agree with the points laid out by Rune. He has eloquently summarized the digital market for 2022. 3D Printing, without a doubt, will be a massive game-changer going forwards.

Below you will see his post, and my comments and thoughts in blue.

Enjoy his post.


Rune Fisker, 3Shape

Driven by COVID a significant digital acceleration have been happening in 2021 and this will continue into 2022. This is the key 2022 trends I foresee:

1. The Dental Platform Race Has Begun

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 questions is who is best positioned to win?

It is true the dental platform race has begun. We have seen huge competition in the past 12 months from a number of companies trying to capture market share. Most companies worth their salt are investing heavily into software. Having a fast scanner is no longer enough. It is a software and apps game now. This is what is differentiating scanners as many are 'fast'. One interesting aspect that has not been utilized is the integration of scanners into practice management software in a big way. We are yet to see the full integration of IOS in a clinic as most have their own software and are run separately to clinic software. It will be interesting to see who advances in this aspect first...

2. IOS Will Keep Driving Digitalization

The adaption of Intraoral scanner 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 a 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.

IOS are indeed booming. It is interesting to hear from Rune that penetration is reaching 30-35% in mature markets, I thought it would be higher but it shows the enormous potential of IOS that has not been tapped yet. This is not even considering the emerging markets which would likely be much lower. Huge money in this stuff. As I mentioned above, I agree that future IOS usage is not just limited to an impression replacement tool. Those days are gone, scanners can do so much more now.

3. 3D Printing And Materials: Next Level

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 we see 100% 3D printed final dentures take off, which 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?

3D printing will likely be the biggest thing to happen to digital dentistry since scanners. The printers themselves are pretty damn good now. The thing that is missing is materials, just like Rune says. Materials in 3D printing are improving every week and new material releases are always happening. It is only a matter of time in my opinion that 3D printers will be adopted en masse due to their huge benefits, both chairside and lab. Once we get some decent final restoration materials that can be printed, then that will truly be game-changing.

4. AI Is Here

2021 was the year where 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.

AI has been involved in scanning for some time to help improve scan performance and remove artefacts automatically. These days we are seeing AI being utilized more and more in CAD. I agree with Rune, AI is the future of digital dentistry. The more we can automate things the better it is going to be. 3Shape did release a number of great products last year like 3Shape Automate but whether this can penetrate the chairside market like CEREC, time will tell. I look forward to the day that through machine learning and AI we can design complex restorations predictably with little human involvement.

5. Aligners and Dentures Rapidly Being Adopted

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.

Another hot topic in the world of digital dentistry. Clear aligner demand is increasing every year. We are still not at the point where making clear aligners in-house is as simple as an in-house crown, but it is improving rapidly. This will be game changing once we get a cost-effective and automated way of doing this. Indeed, most dentists/specialists are tired of paying the exorbitant fees aligner companies demand. 

Digital dentures is another aspect that will boom very soon. We personally use 3Shape's denture software and find it to be the best in the market. We have been making in-house dentures for over a year and the main limiting factor now is materials. Once we get decent printable denture materials, this will be game-changing. The huge benefits of CAD/CAM dentures are already evident and they are the same benefits when we compare scanners to impressions: efficiency, accuracy and reproducibility.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion of the digital trends of 2022. An exciting year ahead as the digital dentistry market continues to take off. I wish you all a safe and happy New Year. 

About the author 

Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny

Dr Ahmad is a global leader in digital dentistry and intraoral scanners, carrying out lectures as a KOL for many companies and industry. He is one of the few in the world who owns and has tested all mainstream scanners and CAD/CAM systems in his clinic. Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny is a full-time private dentist in New Zealand and the Director of The Institute of Digital Dentistry (iDD), a world-leading digital dentistry education provider. iDD offers live courses, masterclasses, and an online training platform, with a mission to ensure dentists globally have easy and affordable access to the best digital dentistry training possible.

  • Thank you for sharing this fantastic article. It coupled with your insightful comments truly make this an invaluable piece of information.

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