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Tools of the trade: Planmeca Smile Design System

digital smile design softwareBy Dr Victoria Lane, Charlestown Dental Centre, NSW

This system allows you to show patients what they will look like once their dental work is completed. You take a photo of the patient, upload it onto the Planmeca software and the image can be manipulated to display the final result.

What’s good about it

First and foremost, I like it because it’s a great selling tool. It comes with a library of different-shaped teeth that can be selected depending on the patient’s face and the shape of their teeth. The new teeth are superimposed over the patient’s existing smile to show the final result. The system follows the rule of golden proportion.

If you measure the patient’s teeth intra-orally or on a study model you can calibrate the teeth onto the smile design software. A lab can copy those measurements or there’s other Planmeca software that works in conjunction with a 3D printer.

In regards to cosmetic changes, a lot of patients do not really know what treatment would give them the best smile. The smile design software allows them to visualise what their smile will look like with or without gum repositioning. I can also show them the end result after restoring one tooth, two teeth or the whole arch from pre-molar to pre-molar. The colour of the teeth can also be altered. The patient then has all the information and can make an informed decision. 

The system is easy to use with an intuitive toolbar on the screen. There are instructional videos on the Planmeca website.

What’s not so good

You have to pay a monthly fee to run the system. It would be nice if there were 3D options with more views around the face.

Where did you get it

There’s a month’s free trial on the Planmeca website. You can download the software from there.

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