Paving the way for digital dentistry in Portugal

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Dr Helena Beatriz Santos runs her dental practice in the small town of Setúbal, near Lisbon, Portugal. Having started small, her business has grown through the years, and today Dr Santos has clinics in two different locations. She has been using Planmeca equipment for over a year now and has been especially excited about the new technology and achieving a smooth workflow.

Dr Helena Beatriz Santos has worked as a dentist for over 33 years. She first studied general medicine but switched to dentistry after three years. “Dentistry represented the possibility of specialising in a particular area but also helping in terms of general health,” she says and maintains that dentistry also plays a very important role in self-esteem, from the point of view of aesthetics, speech production and social interactions. “I also believed I had the manual dexterity needed in the profession.” Nowadays, Dr Santos’s sons, David Miguel Santos and Luís Marques Santos, and her daughter, Sara Beatriz Santos, also work at the family clinic, City Clinic Center, HBS Health Group.

Modern technology streamlines the workflows

Dr Santos loves the versatility of her job. She works as a general dentist and has over two decades of experience in orthodontics. In her everyday work, Dr Santos does a lot of rehabilitation with prosthetics, implant prosthetics, fixed prosthetics on teeth and removable prosthetics. “The only thing I'm not doing at the moment is advanced surgery,” she says. She refers the complicated dental extraction and implant surgery cases to her colleagues.

Choosing Planmeca solutions was ultimately an easy choice for Dr Santos. She was familiar with the Planmeca brand and knew that the company is acclaimed for its innovative products. When she learned that Planmeca had developed an entire digital workflow system, from CBCT – which was the technology she originally wanted to acquire – to laboratory equipment, the decision was made. For her, the idea of a single system for an efficient workflow was utterly appealing.

At present, City Clinic Center is equipped with aPlanmeca ProMax® 3D Classic imaging unit with the Planmeca ProFace® integrated face photo option and the Planmeca ProCeph™ cephalostat, a Planmeca Planmill® 40 S milling unit, a Planmeca Creo® C5 3D printer, a Planmeca PlanScan® Lab desktop scanner and two Planmeca Emerald™ intraoral scanners. At the beginning of this year, the clinic also acquired two Planmeca Compact™ i Classic dental units.

Being able to combine the hardware with an efficient software platform was another important factor for Dr Santos, and Planmeca Romexis® was the perfect solution for accomplishing that. “What is best in Romexis is that everything is integrated, and you don’t need separate software for different purposes.” She currently uses the Romexis® 3D Ortho StudioRomexis® Smile Design and Romexis® 3D Implant Guide modules. The future goal is to turn the practice into a fully digital system with advanced technology.

Better care through Planmeca’s complete solution

According to Dr Santos, another key benefit of Planmeca’s all-in-one solution is that it enables a better patient experience.

“It's very important for us to be able to provide our patients with all the necessary treatment under one roof, so that they don’t need to go to various places for different procedures. It saves their time and helps to convince them that we genuinely care for their well-being.”

She also mentions that patients are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages of 3D images. “Having a CBCT unit at the clinic allows us to make more accurate diagnoses and visualise the problem and the dental procedure for the patient. This also makes it easier for them to understand the need for treatment and commit to it.”

Dr Santos explains that orthodontics is a complicated process where you will have to wait a year and a half to two years to see the results of your work, whereas in prosthetics, the results are visible much sooner. She describes a recent case where the rehabilitation of the entire upper jaw with a fixed prosthesis was completed in less than a week. The patient did not like his smile and could not eat properly, because he had difficulties in chewing. With the help of her son, David Miguel Santos, who is a dental technician, Dr Santos managed to place fifteen ceramic crowns in only four days, which solved the patient’s problems all at once.

At the forefront of digital dentistry in Portugal

According to Dr Santos, many dental clinics in Portugal have not yet entered the digital world, and utilising advanced technology is still more an exception than the norm. She therefore feels excited and privileged to run a dental practice that is one of the first to have the complete digital system. As one of the pioneers in the country, she also firmly believes in advocating digital workflows. Dr Santos hopes that the example set by City Clinic Center will encourage other clinics in Portugal on their way to the digital era.

When implementing a new digital system, the need for education and information sharing is evident. Dr Santos and her team have been eager to attend as many training courses as possible. Participating in Planmeca’s end user trainings and learning about new technologies has been very fruitful, and she is especially impressed with Planmeca’s aspiration to have a personal relationship with its customers. “I love the Planmeca work ethic – everything they do, they do for us.”

Dr Helena Beatriz Santos (in the middle) is pleased that her son, Dr Luís Marques Santos, and daughter, Dr Sara Beatriz Santos, have both joined the family business, City Clinic Center.


Copy: Hanna Lipiäinen
Images: Dino Azinur