“Technology won’t take away our expertise but will make our life easier”

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Dr Andreas Tsagarakis, DDS, CDE, made a transition to digital dentistry some five years ago with the help of Planmeca equipment. After initially having some doubts, he is nowadays a strong advocate of the digital workflow. In fact, he believes digital dentistry has transformed his clinic.

Dr Andreas Tsagarakis is a general practitioner managing his private practice in the beautiful island of Crete in Greece. Born in Crete and raised in Athens, Dr Tsagarakis graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Dental School in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1997. He then continued his studies at the same university and specialised in removable prosthodontics.

After completing his studies, Dr Tsagarakis returned to his hometown of Chania and started his own clinic. A few years later, he attended a three-year continuing education programme in oral rehabilitation and aesthetic dentistry at New York University in the United States.

Providing dental care for both local residents and tourists

Working with an associate dentist, Dr Tsagarakis currently runs a two-chair clinic providing dental treatments in almost all specialities. In the most complicated cases, the clinic collaborates with external associates, such as periodontists and maxillofacial surgeons.

A majority of their patients are local residents, but Crete being a popular holiday destination, the clinic occasionally also receives tourists as patients. According to Dr Tsagarakis, dental tourism is on the rise in Crete, so they are expecting the number of travelling patients to increase in the future.

This also means a growing need for completing the treatments in a limited time frame. Dr Tsagarakis admits this is not always feasible, especially with analogue treatment methods. “Thanks to digital technology, however, we are now able to offer same-day or following-day implants and smiles in most cases,” he says.

To the digital era – with Planmeca solutions

Dr Andreas Tsagarakis was introduced to Planmeca and its products by the local Planmeca distributor in Greece. He is particularly grateful to Mr Manos Apostolides and Ms Maria Giannakidou from Apostolides Dental Supplies for all their support and, according to his own words, he has them to thank for learning to know what Planmeca stands for.

“I saw quality, attention to detail and beautiful design, and most importantly, I received excellent customer service both before and after the completion of sales”, he says. “Right from the start, I had people from Greece and Planmeca headquarters in Finland watching my back and guiding me through the steps of the digital ecosystem, so I felt very confident.”

In addition, Dr Tsagarakis really appreciates the support he has received from the dental lab he collaborates with. “Being a pioneer in the field, they helped us a lot with the digital workflow.”

His first acquisition over four years ago was the Planmeca Emerald® intraoral scanner. He has then added the Planmeca Creo® C5 3D printer and the Planmeca Romexis® 3D software to his clinic and upgraded the intraoral scanner to the newer version, Planmeca Emerald® S. In the near future, Dr Tsagarakis is planning to acquire a Planmeca dental unit.

Embracing new technologies

During his 25-year career, Dr Tsagarakis has witnessed a remarkable change in dentistry that is mostly caused by the rapid development of technology. He admires the younger generation of dental professionals who are much more technologically savvy as the previous generations.

As someone who used to be skeptical about digital dentistry, Dr Tsagarakis now wants to encourage all the seasoned professionals to take a curious rather than a fearful approach towards the latest technological advancements. “Technology won’t take away our expertise but will make our life easier,” he says.

Dr Tsagarakis believes that digital dentistry has transformed his clinic, as they are now able to offer a wider range of services at a higher level of efficiency. “We have been able to minimise the session time without making compromises in the treatment quality – on the contrary, the quality is better than ever before.”

The impact on diagnostics cannot be overlooked either. “The digital workflow allows us to make more detailed treatment plans than before, predict the outcome better and provide an accurate time frame for the treatment. This also improves our communication as we are able to present the complete treatment to the patient in a conclusive way, which makes it easier for them to accept the treatment plan.”

All clinical data in one software platform

Dr Andreas Tsagarakis performs guided surgery with the Romexis software platform and regularly uses the Romexis® Smile Design, Romexis® 3D Implant and Romexis® 3D Implant Guide modules. He believes that the biggest advantage of Planmeca’s complete solution is the fact that everything is seamlessly connected. All the imaging data can be combined with intraoral scans and further processed into high-quality clinical plans within the Romexis software.

“The Romexis ecosystem is a great tool for diagnosis. You can see everything in two and three dimensions and examine even the smallest details that can make all the difference. Most importantly, you can identify pathologies and predict the steps needed to complete the treatment.”

According to Dr Tsagarakis, there is a saying that everything you say before the treatment is information and everything you say after the treatment is just an excuse. “Thanks to the Romexis 3D Implant module, I know I don’t have to make any excuses because I have a complete implant plan that is extremely precise,” he declares.

He is also beyond happy to be able to print surgical guides in-house in less than 30 minutes with his Planmeca Creo C5 3D printer. “Together with the post-processing, it takes less than two hours to have a surgical guide fitted into the patient’s mouth and ready for implants to be placed. Nowadays we can provide immediate implant restoration.”

Top-of-the line prosthetic restorations

Dr Tsagarakis emphasises the importance of providing full oral rehabilitation instead of treating single teeth. He always reminds his patients that his goal is to gather all the information needed for creating healthy, beautiful smiles. With Planmeca tools, this is easier than ever before, and he describes the accuracy of the data he nowadays gets to work with as a real game changer.

In his opinion, the most common problems of the analogue era were related to the marginal fit and occlusion of the prosthetic restorations. Shifting to the digital era first with Planmeca Emerald and then with Planmeca Emerald S eliminated such problems. “The restorations now fit into the oral cavity perfectly. We get extremely good aesthetic results combined with extremely good function,” Dr Tsagarakis says.

“I love doing dentistry because it’s not just work. I love creating healthy, beautiful smiles and with the digital gadgets that I am using now. Every day is a very good day! And as Hippocrates said: Health is the greatest of human blessings.”

Patient satisfaction is paramount

Dr Tsagarakis’s patients have also been amazed by the new technology. “I get the wow reaction from my patients when they see in real time what is happening in their mouth,” he describes. The digital tools allow him to easily visualise the original problem, how it should be treated and – most importantly – why. “In a matter of minutes, the patient’s oral cavity is being revealed and explained to them.”

Satisfied patients and peer recommendations are especially important for dental clinics in Greece because advertising in the health sector – including dentistry – is highly regulated. Dr Tsagarakis is delighted that the transition to digital dentistry has also contributed to increased patient satisfaction. “In Greece, we mostly have word-of-mouth marketing, so for us, a happy customer is indeed the greatest advertising.”

Copy: Hanna Lipiäinen
Images: Argyro Papadoulaki

Planmeca Oy and Planmeca Group
Planmeca Oy is one of the world's leading dental equipment manufacturers, with a product range covering digital dental units, CAD/CAM solutions, world-class 2D and 3D imaging devices and comprehensive software solutions. Privately owned and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, the company offers a portfolio of products distributed in over 120 countries worldwide. Planmeca Oy is part of the Finnish Planmeca Group, which consists of several healthcare technology brands, each committed to innovation and design. With 4,500 employees worldwide, Planmeca Group companies achieved a combined pro forma turnover of EUR 1.2 billion in 2021.