A steep learning curve is one of the biggest hurdles when implementing new technology into your practice. This week I discuss a new adventure. The old adage of “teaching an old dog new tricks” pretty well describes my introduction into 3D printing. Have a listen on episode 64 of the Business of Dentistry.
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In today’s episode I’m the old dog and the new technology I’m about to launch is 3D printing! I think of 3D printing as an advanced technology, and it’s something I’ve been watching, learning about, listening to and paying attention to for awhile now.
And from what I’ve learned – my impression and perspective – is that this is not something that is easy and quick to implement. Because of that, it’s not been easy for me to pull the trigger on bringing a 3D printer into my practice. But I recently bought a FormLabs Form 2 3D printer, along with some of the guys I interact with on social media, we’re all launching these printers and learning them together in the same time frame. So we’ll all learn as we go, together!
If you’ve been here for past episodes you know we’ve talked about implementing technology: how to do it and how to get a return on your investment. It’s the approach I use for all technology purchases in my practice and the same one I used when buying the 3D printer.
My rationale with the 3D printer was to have better outcomes for implant patient cases (from a restorative standpoint), and improve upon the outcomes and fine-tune the process. We’ve had great success but the 3D printer could make our implant process even better. The process could become more predictable and save me time surgically by doing the pre-planning and the surgical guides upfront.
That is my focus with the 3D printer: building a workload to do surgical guides, to make surgeries quicker and bring about better patient recovery because we’re spending less time in the surgery itself. I’m also looking for better time management through reduced overhead and an increase in overall production.
I’m not new to technology, and if you’ve listened before you know I am a tech guy so I’m not gun shy about new gadgets and toys. But with the 3D printer I am gun shy about building the workflows to make it effective and productive in my office. That’s where the 3D printer is still shaky for me. In fact, I haven’t even unpacked the 3D printer! It has been in my office for the last week, the two boxes it came in still sitting there untouched and unopened (as you can see in the picture above).
The main reason I haven’t unpacked the boxes yet is because I’m also preparing to leave for vacation for a week: I’ve been focused on getting everything done and ready for my time away. When I do set up the printer I want to have the time to devote to it, and I just don’t have it right now.
Also I am considering documenting my experience with the 3D printer: from opening the boxes through the entire process of setting it up and building the workloads for surgical guides. I haven’t found anyone else online who has done this but if you know of anyone please tell me because I’d love to watch it! But if that option is not available, then I’ll do it myself and hopefully someone can learn from me.
I’d also love to know if you have a personal experience with 3D printing and 3D printers: do you have one up and running in your office? Are you going to buy one? Do you have any specific reasons not to? I’m interested in hearing your perspectives on both sides of the issue!
On episode 64 of the show you’ll also hear what my staff does when new technology for the office appears, why I allow them to call me out if I don’t follow protocol and why I’m doing more self-directed learning now then I ever did during my formal education.
Listen in for all of those topics and then let me know what you think about old dogs implementing new new tricks like 3D printing to increase productivity, improve patients outcomes and become more efficient! It’s all here on this edition of the Business of Dentistry.
Tweetable: “As we’re learning we are growing.”