Dr Marcus Engelschalk is excited about upcoming DDS Berlin

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“It is simply great fun to be in contact with the next generation”: An interview with Dr Marcus Engelschalk

Dr Engelschalk will give a lecture on technology in dental implantology training at DDS.Berlin. (Image: Marcus Engelschalk)

Dr Marcus Engelschalk, an expert in digital dentistry, oral surgery and implantology, recently spoke with Dental Tribune International about the future of dental education and technology. Dr Engelschalk is owner of a private practice and, in addition to his many credentials and affiliations, serves as an ambassador for the Digital Dentistry Society (DDS) and for the Slow Dentistry Global Network for Germany. He will also serve as a moderator during the upcoming Digital Dentistry Show (DDS.Berlin) being held in Berlin on 28 and 29 June. In this interview, he shares his insights on the value of DDS in further education, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) on digital dentistry, and the philosophy of Slow Dentistry in modern dental practice.

Dr Engelschalk, improving dental instruction is clearly one of your passions. From your perspective, how are programmes like the ones offered by DDS valuable for those seeking high-calibre educational opportunities?
We have to consider that many developments in dentistry, such as implantology, have taken place in the dental office and not at universities. This is also currently the case in digital dentistry. Universities then provide support with in-depth study and further development on a scientific basis. Postgraduate training or programmes such as those offered by DDS can then be used to learn new or additional methods, to provide in-depth training and to exchange ideas with experienced colleagues. It is often the exchange between colleagues that makes it easier to get started in new subject areas.

You are also a leading researcher on a number of topics, including AR technologies. Could you explain what drives your interest in the technologies that take digital dentistry and dental instruction to the next level, like AI, virtual reality, AR and mixed reality (MR)?
Basically, digital dentistry is a very exciting topic, and there have been many extreme leaps in both patient treatment and dental technology. However, AI in combination with AR or MR enables us to have a completely new way of communicating, planning and carrying out treatment. This has a major impact on the way the therapeutic team can communicate and act before and during treatment, as well as on research and teaching. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us very clearly that new ways are urgently needed and that additional paths must be taken in both areas—and it is simply great fun to be in contact with the next generation and to develop new things.

For clinicians who are unfamiliar with Slow Dentistry, could you give us a brief overview of its unique offerings for patient care and describe its role in a digital office setting?
The philosophy of Slow Dentistry is based on several pillars: advice and education of the patient, hygiene, special therapy measures and patient care. Here, the individual patient should be the centre of the processes in the practice. The Slow Dentistry Global Network does not seek to evaluate the quality of its members, but rather to highlight the basic concepts for ideal patient care. The incorporation of digital in this approach involves implementing the advantages of digital technologies in the planning stage and subsequently reducing the treatment time for the patient and also working in a more atraumatic and targeted manner. The aim is to shift the work, which certainly remains the same in terms of effort, away from the patient in the treatment chair and thus also relieve the patient mentally.

As an ambassador for DDS for Germany, are there any digital dentistry developments on the horizon that you feel your fellow clinicians should be excited about?
In principle, Germany is very different from other countries in the field of digital dentistry. I would like the basics of digital dentistry, such as intra-oral scanning and digital planning, to be implemented in dental offices. This is not happening yet. The increasing use of AI to support treatment is also something that can be implemented quickly and easily. In addition, it is now safe to predict that 3D printing will be a major topic of the future. This applies not only to 3D-printing materials, such as resins and ceramics, but also to the 3D printing of prostheses, such as dentures.

However, I currently regard the implementation of AR or MR as a later step, after the basics of digital dentistry have been implemented. It is certainly the same as with our own personal development: we should not try to run before we can walk.

Editorial note:

Dr Marcus Engelschalk will be presenting a lecture titled “The influence of modern technologies in dental implantology training” at DDS.Berlin on 29 June at 17:30. Further information can be found at www.dds.berlin/en/p/program.

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