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The Best Practices Show - ACT Dental EPISODE 248, 12th November 2020
Episode #248: The Dilemma of Digital Dentistry with Dr. John Cranham
00:00:00 00:55:47

Episode #248: The Dilemma of Digital Dentistry with Dr. John Cranham

Dr. John Cranham, a full-time dentist and also a lecturer, discusses the digital dilemma: the transition and cost of going digital in dentistry. John begins by addressing the reason for going digital which is to improve your quality and your efficiency once you make the transition. He emphasizes that all of the technological advancements make this is an exciting time to be in the field of dentistry.

One important point regarding the digital transition and advancements, is how important the analog experience is. The ultimate work that is done in dentistry is analog work (the former way of taking molds and doing models) but doing scans and models digitally, takes away that necessity.

There are two main dilemmas in going digital. The first, and most common dilemma, is cost. In his opinion, the cost ultimately balances out when you consider material cost that you will no longer have, as well as time savings. He also encourages people when they are shopping around to consider the reasons why equipment prices differ. Another hesitation that people often have is that they are not tech savvy enough. It is the assistants who will usually be using the equipment and they will receive training on how to use the equipment. He gives the encouragement that going digital is necessary if you want to be as predictable, efficient and profitable as possible.

Another benefit of going digital, is the ability to communicate the problems and solutions to the patients. When you can digitally show a patient what is going on inside of their mouth, and how the mouth is a whole system, it increases their understanding of why something needs to be done. There is much less error and need for adjustments when using digital over analog.

John shares about his new book coming out, The Cornell Effect. He gives a glimpse into what his son’s journey has meant to him and some of the principles in his book. He also shares about what the Dawson Academy has meant to him and why you should consider joining.

Main Takeaways

- Going digital allows you to be more accurate and more efficient

- The new digital technology makes dentistry an exciting field to be a part of right now

- The biggest dilemma of going digital is cost

- It’s important to go digital if you want to be as predictable, efficient and profitable as possible

- The digital way results in the least amount of error and adjustments.

Key Quotes

“For me, if I’m going to jump into digital, I’m going to make sure it’s at least going to be, quality wise, as good as what I can do in the analog world.”-John

“My personal hope is it’s going to make the ability to be able to visualize optimal dentistry and design occlusions, to design beautiful smiles, much more attractive to the mainstream population of dentists, because it’s not going to be as difficult.” -John

“The things I was dreaming about fifteen years ago are here now and evolving at warp speed.” -John

“You cannot replace the experience of doing something analog.” -Kevin

“When you get to your patient, your patient is one hundred percent analog. It’s analog, you’ve got to do it with your own hands.” -John

“I think that that’s what everybody gets stuck on, is the cost, and then I think the second thing that people get stuck on is maybe they’re not that technologically savvy.” -John

“I think you’re going to leave predictability, efficiency and profitability on the table if you don’t start getting into this game.” -John

“My goal for what I do, as a dentist, and maybe the legacy that I would like to leave behind is, I would like to be able to take all the protocols that Dr. Dawson sort of created, in terms of doing more complex dentistry, and do this in a more efficient, predictable manner in the digital world.” -John

“If you want to start getting excited about doing some of the larger things, these are the protocols that are just going to get better and better.” -John

“There’s just people sometimes put on this earth to inspire people.” -John


- The importance of going digital

- The importance of having analog experience, even when transitioning to digital

- The dilemma of going digital

- The improvement of communication with patients when using digital

- The future of dentistry from a digital perspective

Bio of guest

Dr. John Cranham is a full-time dentist in Chesapeake, Virginia. While he is a dentist first and a teacher second, he is also a Co-Clinical Director of The Dawson Academy. Dr. Cranham is a graduate of the Medical College of Virginia in 1988. He’s an internationally recognized speaker on the esthetic principles of smile design, contemporary occlusal concepts, treatment planning, restoration selection, digital photography, laboratory communication, and happiness and fulfillment in dentistry.


Dr. John Cranham