Digital dentistry is expected to accelerate over the next few years in Canada in an answer to patient demand, government requirements, and the need for efficient practice management. Recently, the Canadian government made updates to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) that require the organizations subject to PIPEDA to provide notifications to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, as well as individuals affected when a data breach potentially leads to the compromise of personal information. In response, dentists in Canada are implementing better data security measures, including the use of secured email and patient account portals.
Digital dentistry in Canada is also seeing a surge in the use of technology for patient-provider communications. Since many patients no longer have landline phones and may not check email frequently, some practices are staying ahead of the curve with the use of custom mobile applications that provide push notifications, including appointment reminders, bill reminders, and more.
In the front office, technology is all about efficiency. More and more offices – especially new start-ups – are opting or converting to digital storage and practice management. Instead of maintaining extensive filing systems full of years of patient data, files are being stores in secured servers instead.
Canada is seeing perhaps the greatest dental technology advancements in the diagnostic and treatment realms, where lasers, ‘smart’ equipment, and three-dimensional treatment planning technology is transforming the way dentists and patients approach oral care. With the massive drop in the cost of dental lasers and their increased maneuverability, patients should expect to see greater integration of dental lasers in practices all over Canada – not just high-end practices in major metropolitan areas
Dentists are also expected to integrate more grafting and scanning technology into practices. These state-of-the-art services are making it possible for more and more people to qualify for dental implants as opposed to older, less efficient prosthetics like dentures. As cone beam three dimensional and CAD/CAM technology progresses, there will also be a greater emphasis on 3-D treatment planning and even in-office printing of prosthetics.
Finally, we expect to see the ‘Internet of Things’ migrate towards dental offices, with an emphasis on cloud-based equipment. This should allow for communication between devices, as well as cloud-based troubleshooting when equipment interacts with manufacturers and service technicians.
iData Research Inc.: Canadian Market for Dental Implants, 2006