Clinical director Keith with three intra-oral digital scanners<br />

What’s So Great About Digital Dentistry?

17th March 2023

Digital dentistry is great because it has so many benefits for you. Read on to find out how it could make your dentist experience more fun, more comfortable and how it could help you get the smile you want.

Before Digital Dentistry


When I had braces at age 14, I started the treatment without ever knowing what the end result would be. My dentist told me that I had crowded teeth and I’d hate them when I was older. The orthodontist told me that I needed a tooth taken out and two years of metal braces to get the smile I wanted.


But how did they know what it was that I really wanted?


The smile that I ended up with certainly wasn’t. It isn’t terrible. But because I only had one tooth taken out, my teeth have all moved, so my whole smile looks off-centre.


Would I have let them do what they did to me if I’d known the result?




Do i wish I had seen what my smile would look like before I embarked on my long and irreversible treatment?


A resounding yes.


When you think about it, it’s no wonder people are scared of the dentist. When you feel like you have no control over what someone is going to do to your smile, it’s easy to feel frightened.


And investing in a smile you’re not sure you’re going to like? Well that’s like buying a house or a car you’ve never seen!


Back in 1993, it wasn’t possible for me to know what the end result of my treatment would be, but now it most definitely is. You can now see and approve what your new smile will look like before you even start your treatment!




With digital dentistry. Isn’t that amazing?

Digital smile design
Before and after digital smile design veneers male patient

Where Digital Dentistry Began


The word digital first entered the dentistry world in the 1960s, according to Then, in the 1980’s, dentist, Dr Francois Duret, began developing new intra-oral scanners. His idea was to use them to replace the gooey impressions that we all know and hate.


Although Duret has been working with this tech for the last 40 years, it’s only recently that digital dentistry

has started making its way into your local dentist.


In the US 41-43% of practices are now using digital intra-oral scanners, according to 3Shape, but in the UK we’re still some way behind. Four out of five dental practices here have yet to embrace this technology!

Leading the way at Coatbridge Family Dental Care


Not so here at Coatbridge Family Dental Care.


Our first dip into the world of digital dentistry was with our pain-free injection system in 2017. We’ve followed this with a digital xray system, digital CBCT scanner, first intra-oral scanner, second injection system, second intra-oral scanner, remote dental monitoring system and we’ve just taken delivery of our third scanner!

Daily record article about pain-free digital injection system
Dentist using digital intra-oral scanner
Dentist teaching patient how to use dental monitoring software
Dentist placing implant with digital CBCT scans in background
So why have we been so keen to adopt digital technology in our dental practice?


Because these digital dentistry solutions make your treatment:


  • More accurate – better fitting restorations like implants, crowns and veneers


  • Predictable – you know what your smile will look like before we even start your treatment


  • Faster – more efficient techniques. Plus increased accuracy means we get things right first time


  • Cheaper – less surgery time and increased accuracy mean more efficient working. This means we can reduce the cost to you




Which begs the question, why wouldn’t we invest in digital dentistry technology?


Read on to find out how digital dentistry can make your visit to the dentist:

more fun,

more comfortable,

and give you exactly the smile that you want..

Patient Care coordinators with digital intra-oral scanner

Planning with Digital Dentistry


Every new patient who comes into our practice immediately benefits from digital dentistry. One of the first things we do is take digital photographs and a digital intra-oral scan of your teeth.


This allows us to show you exactly what’s going on inside your mouth. Gone are the days of not knowing what your dentist is talking about. It’s all there in glorious three-dimensional digital colour!


You can point to things on the screen that are in your mouth and ask us questions about them. Or show us things you don’t like and we can tell you how we could fix them. We can show you the things that we are happy with or problems that might need some attention.


We can even show you the areas you’re missing with your toothbrush. It makes coming to the dentist much more fun and allows you to be involved and invested in your care from the word go.

Digital – the Future of Preventative Dentistry


As a member of the Coatbridge Family Dental Care plan, you can benefit from digital dentistry at every one of your dental health checks. By using our intra-oral scanner to scan your mouth at each check, we can see exactly what has happened since your last visit. We no longer have to rely on your memory or your dentist’s notes. It allows us to have a full digital record of what is going on in your mouth.


We can monitor the condition of your teeth and any work you’ve had done, your gum condition and tooth wear. It’s amazing! Using the real-time time-lapse feature, we can also show you any changes in your mouth between your checks. It helps us pick things up early and is the key to providing true preventative dentistry for you.


Digital Smile Design


Whether you come to see us to change one tooth or for a full smile-makeover, you will benefit from our digital smile design software. This allows us to show you what your smile will look like when you have had your treatment.


Digital smile design is suitable for anybody who doesn’t like their smile. Whether the best option for you is implants, aligners, veneers, crowns, bridges or dentures, you will be able to see what your new smile will look like.


You’ll also be to check out different treatments. For example, you could compare a new smile using veneers or orthodontic aligners and see which would give the best result.


The best part is, if you don’t like what you see you can give us your input to change it! We don’t start treatment until you are happy with the proposed outcome.


Digital smile design is perfect for:


  • Missing teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Discoloured teeth
  • Crowded or spaced teeth
  • Cracked/chipped teeth


So pretty much everything!

We can also share the image of your new smile with you on your phone. You can show friends and family and ask them what they think.

Kirsty’s Story


Kirsty hated the way her teeth looked. She was unhappy with the appearance of her two front teeth in particular and she had several very heavily filled and root-treated teeth. Also, many of her teeth were wearing away from drinking lots of fizzy drinks when she was younger and her gums were bleeding regularly.

We listened to what Kirsty wanted. Then, using digital design, we showed Kirsty exactly what her new smile could look like. This was before she even started treatment!

Kirsty then had a digitally-designed trial smile created which she was able to try out for a few weeks. This allowed her to make sure she was happy with how everything looked and felt. Before Keith created her final digitally-designed smile.

Female patient who had digital design. smiling
Before and after digitally designed crowns and veneers<br />
Digital smile design images<br />
Before and after digitally designed crowns and veneers
Kirsty had a combination of veneers, crowns and tooth whitening to create this fantastic result. She also had hygiene treatment and coaching from our hygienist to ensure her gums were as healthy as possible for her new smile. 
 “I went to Keith after seeing all his good work on Instagram. For years I was always embarassed by my teeth, I would do anything to hide them in pictures and video calls for work. Keith made me feel so relaxed and explained everything to me in detail when discussing the work I was going to get done. I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me. I feel like a totally different person and absolutely love how my teeth look. He has completely changed my life!”

Watch this video to see Kirsty’s reaction when she first sees her new smile.

Digital Dentistry –3D Guided Dental Implant Surgery


If you are considering dental implants, you will of course have the benefit of the digital smile design process above. But the advent of digital dentistry has also had a huge impact on the placement and final restoration of implants.


Your dentist will use special implant-planning software. This will help them to plan exactly which implant is best for you and where they should place it to give you the best result.


The lab can then use this information to create a bespoke surgical guide for your implant placement. This can give your dental surgeon a very precise guide as to where and how they should position your implant.


The benefits of guided implant surgery are:


  • Improved surgical preciseness


  • Faster treatment


This means more precise planning and faster and more comfortable treatment.

George’s Story

 When George came to see Keith, he was planning ahead. His son was getting married and he wanted to be able to smile for the wedding photos.

At the time, his concerns were his bridge had come out on the top left, he had missing teeth on the top right and his front teeth were very worn. George had a partial denture which he wore occasionally.

Keith took the time to find out exactly what George was looking for and they came up with a plan of action.

A new bridge, crowns and implants have given George his fantastic new smile, just right for smiling confidently in his son’s wedding photos and for years to come!


Before and after of man with digitally-designed implants
Before and after mouth with digitally designed implants<br />
Before and after digital smile design on intra-oral scanner<br />
Before and after teeth with digitally designed implants<br />

“First class treatment throughout a extensive upgrading of my teeth . Would not hesitate in recommending coatbridge dental care.”


Digital Dentistry ­– Invisalign Teeth Straightening


At Coatbridge Family Dental Care, we use the Itero digital intra-oral scanner for all our Invisalign treatments. The Itero scanner was developed by the creators of Invisalign and has been used to take more than 66.4 million orthodontic scans worldwide!


The Itero scanner allows you to see what your final smile will look like after Invisalign treatment. This allows you and your dentist to make an informed decision about whether Invisalign is the right treatment for you. A whole world away from the days of your dentist telling you what was right for you. This is exactly what I needed 30 years ago when I had my braces.


Now you can confidently start treatment knowing what your new smile is going to look like. You are in the driving seat!


Once you’ve started your Invisalign treatment, digital dentistry comes into its own. At Coatbridge Family Dental Care, we’ve invested in digital artificial intelligence from Dental Monitoring.


Dental Monitoring is a remote monitoring system. It allows us to monitor your Invisalign treatment while you’re at home. This reduces the number of visits you need to make to the practice. If you have a busy life, it’s perfect for you!


This is how it works:

We provide you with a state of the art personal scanner


Using your scanner and your phone you can take photos of your smile from anywhere (home, work, holiday!) and send them straight to us!


Your dentist will receive your photos to review your treatment and ensure it’s on track. There’s no need for you to come to the practice


Watch as your new smile develops before your eyes. Dental Monitoring has photo time lapse technology that shows how your teeth are moving towards their goal!

Dentist teaching patient how to use dental monitoring software
Dental Monitoring has revolutionised the way we carry out Invisalign teeth straightening and it means for you:


  • reduced treatment time
  • less visits into the practice
  • monitoring of your treatment progress from the comfort of your home
  • weekly monitoring of your Invisalign by your dentist
  • early identification of any treatment issues
  • regular monitoring of your dental hygiene by your dentist
  • weekly feedback from your dentist
  • the best result possible for you and your smile

Digital Dentistry – Composite Bonding


Composite bonding has had a digital overhaul!


For years dentists have carried out composite bonding (building up tooth-coloured filling material to look like teeth) free-hand. While most dentists are very skilled at this sort of treatment, some cases are more difficult than others. It’s in these more complex cases that digital dentistry holds the key.


An initial scan helps us discuss with you exactly what it is you are looking for. Point out to us the chips, broken or worn away parts of your teeth that you don’t like. Then, using digital smile design, we’ll create your new smile for you to look at in 3D and check that you like.


But with composite bonding it doesn’t stop there. Once you are happy with what your final smile will look like, we’ll make a mould which exactly matches this new smile. Bonding composite carefully using this mould allows us to create the same smile in your mouth as you’ve approved on the screen.


This means that the results of composite bonding are now predictable and quicker. Giving you exactly the smile you want with less time spent in the dental chair.

Digitally designed model to create composite bonding stent
Digitally designed model to create composite bonding stent
Digitally-designed splint for comosite bonding<br />
Our Clinical Director Keith with patient Nicola who had digitally-designed composite bonding

Nicola’s Story


Nicola had been having issues with her front teeth for some time before coming to see us. She has had previous radiotherapy and chemotherapy, during which used fruit juice and soft drinks to help combat the feelings of sickness caused by the treatments.


She told us how she was so aware of the appearance of her teeth and felt self-conscious when talking and smiling. It was affecting her confidence.


Her dentist had suggested that the only way to restore these teeth was with crowns, but she was looking for a more cost-effective solution.


She was following an American dentist on social media and had heard about composite bonding through this, but hadn’t realised it was available in the UK.



We took the time to listen to what she wanted and made her smile again using composite bonding with digital smile design and a custom made stent.


Here’s her big reveal…

Digital smile design on intra oral scanner
Digital smile design on intra-oral scanner
Smile before and after digital composite bonding
Teeth before and after digitally-designed<br />
composite bonding<br />
Mouth before digitally designed composite bonding<br />
Right side view after digitally designed composite bonding

Having not visited the dentist since 2018 I knew that I needed quite a bit of treatment. I originally contacted Coatbridge family dental practice with the hope of having composite bonding.

After speaking with Leanne – who was so lovely- I was booked in with Keith, not only for my composite; but fillings, root treatment and a crown.

I initially had 2 appointments with Laura, the hygienist who was so reassuring and friendly and made a huge improvement to my overall dental health.

I then attended the practice for appointments with Keith over some months. I honestly cannot find the words to describe how grateful I am. Keith listened to everything I was hoping for and gave me options on how he could achieve what I wanted. He is honestly fab and I can’t sing his praises more.

I absolutely love my new smile! I had no confidence when I walked in and I am still in awe at how natural and beautiful my teeth look. The whole team are so wonderful and from the minute you walk through the door everyone is so friendly and kind. I can not recommend them enough!


No More Impression Goo!


For many people, impressions at the dentist, or “getting moulds taken”, is the dental treatment they dread the most. Indeed for some dentists, it’s the procedure they least look forward to. A messy, unpredictable procedure that some patients hate so much so that they often gag.


On a hot day, the goo sets too fast, on a cold day the poor patient has to sit with it in their mouth for a whole five minutes. And once it’s set, sometimes when you take it out there’s a tiny airblow right where you didn’t want it, and you have to do the whole thing again!


It wasn’t long ago that we had to take impressions for everything that needed to be made in a lab – gum shields, aligners, braces, crowns, bridges, implants, dentures. Indeed many dental practices still do (four out of five in the UK according to the figures at the start of this blog post).


The impressions are transported to the lab in a wee plastic bag in a van, with the risk of distortion, damage or loss.


The lab technician pours plaster into the mould and leaves it to set, hoping that no more air blows, defects or distortions are introduced in the process.


They then use this plaster mould of your mouth to create your crown/aligner/bridge on.


The scope for error is huge.


But digital intra-oral scanners remove the need for gooey impressions and gagging completely!!


They are a pain-free, clean, accurate and predictable way of getting an impression of your mouth and sharing it with the lab.


With digital dentistry, we send the scan electronically to the lab. They design the crown/aligner/bridge on their computer software. The restoration is then created by milling or 3D printing! For crowns, bridges and veneers, the lab technician adds the final bespoke details.


It’s easy to see the increased accuracy and efficiency this digital communication system provides.


Giving you the result you want much more quickly than ever before.

So What is So Great About Digital Dentistry?


A couple of years ago, we wrote a blog about how digital dentistry was the future. For us and our patients, digital dentistry is very much the present and the every day. Digital dentistry is here to stay. We’re delighted that our patients benefit from the fact that we are early adopters of such advanced technology.


At Coatbridge Family Dental Care our vision is:

“To be the best family dental practice and implant referral practice in the area, renowned for our amazing patient experiences and top class team”

Two of our core values are:


Commit to Continuing Professional Development & growth


Maintain the highest standards & strive for excellence


By embracing digital dentistry we are fulfilling these core values, so we can create amazing patient experiences for you.

(Please note prices and information are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change. Please contact us on 01236 421103 or for the most up-to-date pricing and information)