Build patient trust with smile design

May 4, 2022

Dr. Zhiqiang Luo specializes in implant and restorative dentistry, with a focus on esthetics, in Beijing at one of China’s most prestigious chains. He spends most days performing implant surgery, veneers, crown restorations and full mouth rehabilitation. About two years ago, Zhiqiang began using exocad’s smile design digital tool Smile Creator. “At that time, 2D digital smile design was gradually abandoned by dentists,” Zhiqiang says. “Everyone focused on 3D digital smile design. Smile Creator was doing 3D digital smile design process optimization.” He’s stayed with Smile Creator since then because, he says, “It is very good, it’s easy to use, and it creates predictable results.”

Zhiqiang explains why digital smile design improves patient communication and increases trust.

Q: Can you tell us about the exocad software you use in your practice?

A: I currently use DentalCAD 3.0 Galway. Compared with similar products, the software is really powerful. I’m particularly impressed by the virtual articulator function, Smile Creator and the joint use of digital facebow. Digital facebow is becoming more and more popular in China's dental field.  

Q: How do you integrate Smile Creator into your practice?

A: I show the initial design to the patient and explain the proposed treatment. After the patient is satisfied with the plan, I send this data to the technician. The technician completes the secondary fine design according to my initial proposal and adjusts it to optimize the tooth shape and occlusion. Then the virtual wax-up is 3D printed into a solid model, and a mock-up silicone index is made and sent to me at the clinic.

“With this software, I can give patients a detailed, comprehensive treatment plan and predictable results in the shortest time possible.”

Q: Why do you use Smile Creator?

A: Patients used to wait for a week or more to see a solid wax model made by a technician. Now the patient can immediately see the result I designed from the oral scan. This saves time and improves communication. I can complete the preliminary design on Smile Creator according to my ideas. The technician only needs to optimize the wax shape based on my design.

Q: How does Smile Creator impact your work with patients?

A: Smile Creator gives patients comprehensive treatment plans and predictable results in the shortest time. The Smile Creator visualizations help patients get a sense of the treatment plan. This increases their trust in me as a dentist and paves the way for positive results.

“Start as early as possible, embrace technology and embrace the future.”

Q: How do you involve your employees in the digital process?

A: I regularly organize software training for associate dentists, mainly focused on esthetic analysis. I want them to participate in the design and analysis process as much as they want.

Q: How has digitalization affected your workflow?

A: Digitalization has immeasurable advantages in the diagnosis and analysis of diseases. High efficiency, convenience, and predictability are the biggest features. I like that my clinical work incorporates the latest in science and technology.

Q: What advice do you have for colleagues embarking on the digital journey?

A: Start as early as possible, embrace technology and embrace the future.

Q: What is important to you when selecting CAD/CAM software?

A: In addition to a good user interface and interactive experience, I want the design software to pay attention to the medical logic behind the software operation. This is very important in dentistry.

Q: Time for some lighter questions. What’s the best music to start your day?

A: I like classical music. I also think that soothing music helps patients calm down and reduces their fear of dental treatment.

Q: Who do you look up to? Do you have a mentor?

A: My teacher is my elder brother. He is not much older than me, but he has given me careful guidance and help at all levels, whether it is in clinical technology, social situations, or the other little things in life. He is the person I admire most.

Q: If you weren’t a dentist, what career would you choose?

A: I think I’d work in film, mainly behind the scenes. I’m interested in digital products, photography, and film and television color correction.

Q: What is your passion?

A: I like adventure activities like skiing, mountain climbing, diving, and skydiving. I believe in the saying: Work hard, play harder.

Q: Favorite day trip?

A: I went hiking on the northern slope of Meili in China in October last year and climbed the snow mountain at an altitude of 5,200 meters. I overcame many difficulties and obstacles along the way. The joy of successfully climbing to the top was unforgettable.

Q: If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?

A: Cherish the time on campus and fall in love with someone because you will have no time once you begin your career.

Read the interview in Chinese

Image Dr. Luo

Dr. Zhiqiang Luo received his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2012 from the West China School of Stomatology, Sichuan University, and his Master of Prosthodontics (MS, DDS) in 2015 from Peking University. In 2019, Zhiqiang attended UCLA dental school as a visiting scholar and was invited to study BPS technology at the Ivoclar Vivadent center in Europe. Zhiqiang is a member of a number of professional organizations: the International Association of Digital Dentistry (DDS) China, the Expert Committee of the Digital Dental Industry Branch of the National Health Industry Enterprise Management Association (CSDDI), the European Association of Osseointegration, and the International Team for Implantology (ITI). He is an ITI Implantology Official Certified Lecturer in China, a Nobel Implantology Official Certified Lecturer in China, an exocad Official Certified KOL/ Lecturer in China and Director of the Chinese Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. His current role is Digital Esthetics Center Clinical Discipline Leader/ Director in One Stop Dental Group.

by Caitlan Reeg
Writer at exocad

Caitlan Reeg spends her days telling the world about the innovations her colleagues create. She’s passionate about healthcare, technology, and the ways the two interact to improve our lives. A former journalist, Caitlan has worked on staff at Dow Jones Newswires in Frankfurt and at the national public radio program Marketplace in Los Angeles.