Webview for the win
Avid runner, cyclist and football fan Dr. Robert Chaffe takes us through some of his favorite exocad tools and offers tips on how to scale up your digital skills.
Q: Hi, Rob! Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I’m a general dentist working in London at the private practice White & Co. It’s a really good clinic with great support staff. We’re all kind of like-minded, trying to do new courses, learn all the time. Then what we do learn, we try and teach people.
These days, I’m heavily focused on digital, using exocad, iTero, and Invisalign mostly for my restorative cases. I’m always using a digital workflow. I rarely take impressions anymore. Occasionally, I’ll do impressions, but that’s for very specific cases.
You can easily share your before-and-after view with your patient. It's fantastic, really. I'm a big, big, big, big webview fan.
Q: Which exocad products do you use?
A: My main tool is the multiplatform 3D viewer webview. Because I work a lot of hours, I find it's really useful to ask my lab to build the case. For instance, if I had a case this morning that I was discussing with a patient, the lab can just do the whole smile design case and then send it to me with webview. Then I can easily share my before-and-after view with my patient. It's fantastic, really. I'm a big, big, big, big webview fan. And I also like it because you can use it on the go. On my iPhone, once I've assessed the case, I can quickly screenshot it and ping it via email to the practice management team or the treatment coordinators. Then they can share that with the patient. There’s this really nice workflow from lab, to dentist, to patient, and it works really well. Synergistically.
Q: You’re also a ChairsideCAD 3.0 Galway user, right?
A: I do use ChairsideCAD, but I'm not really one of those dentists who has the time to build all my own cases. When I do use it, it's great. There’s so much you can do. If you're doing a three-to-three veneer case or a composite veneer or wire case, you can select the tooth shapes and sizes, adjust the contacts, and change the contours. You can mirror teeth from one side of the mouth to the other. If you're doing an upper right tooth, for example, and you want to make it look like the upper left tooth, you just mirror it, and it looks the same. It's actually quite easy to use and self-explanatory.
Q: Why exocad?
A: I work with a really good dental lab called Nexus, and I'm quite friendly with a guy called Steve Campbell who works at Nexus. We’re both geeks really, and we just both got into chatting about stuff. And then he's like, ‘Oh, have you tried exocad’s webview?’ I started using it. Then I used it so often all my colleagues use it now too. That's how it started—just networking with colleagues and getting recommendations. I also use exocad’s exoplan implant software, which I find is quite good. I was using another company’s implant software, but it was very expensive and quite complex. I find exocad’s much easier and more intuitive to use.
There are some amazing dentists in this country and in the world, and they're all out there to go and learn from—especially with the power of social media.
Q: You mentioned networking. How big of a role does that play in your digital education? Do you have mentors?
A: I have so many mentors for so many different things. I mentioned Steve Campbell at Nexus before. He’s like my go-to guy for everything lab-based. My implant mentor is Dr. Martin Wanendaya at Ten Dental. He teaches at the Royal College of Surgeons. Then I've got loads of other people I've met and done courses with over the years. Dr. Monik Vasant’s dentistry and courses are great. He's big into composite bonding and composite veneers. That's when I started on digital workflows. I went to his course because I was going to be doing all this composite work, and I needed to up my digital game.
There are some amazing dentists in this country and in the world, and they're all out there to go and learn from—especially with the power of social media. You can see amazing dental work and get inspired. It's like what Wikipedia used to be. Through social, you get just a little blurb about something. Then you can go and research it yourself and take your career off wherever you want it to go.
When you're trying to compete with really experienced implant surgeons, and you want to get cases and start getting experience, let patients know that you’re digital.
Q: How aware are patients that you have this big focus on digital?
A: Our practice is forward-thinking. By the time someone has turned up at the door, they kind of know. In the neighborhood where we’re based, most patients want to be heavily involved in their cases. They want to know what something will look like before I start. If I can’t show them that, they'll go find someone around the corner who will because that's just the area we live in.
When a patient comes in for an implant consultation, I do make sure to tell them that I'm a bit more digital than some other dentists. And this is probably good advice for younger dentists. When you're trying to compete with really experienced implant surgeons, and you want to get cases and start getting experience, let patients know that you’re digital. It’s been really helpful for building my patient base and for planning. Patients like it when you can show them what their implant or composite bonding will look like. Only a handful of dentists do this. It sets you apart from others, which I think is quite good.
Q: To colleagues who are thinking about taking the leap into digital, any other tips you can share?
A: I think the key is that it's changed my career, and it's brilliant. So while it can be overwhelming, I’m never going back. Second thing, you want to have someone who is a mentor or someone locally who can guide you. Because when you start scanning for crowns and things, it is different. You're going to have times when you don't do it quite right. You need to be prepared for some negative feedback from your lab. If you have a good relationship with someone in your lab, and they're an experienced digital lab, that will help you one hundred percent. Don't use an inexperienced digital lab when you're starting out because it will be a bit of a nightmare.
Q: Best music to start your day?
A: My daughter and I listen to Metallica sometimes in the morning to get us pumped. She’s only four, but some days that’s the mood we're in.
Q: Favorite podcast, book or movie?
A: The first “Godfather” is my favorite film of all time. I watch that about a hundred times every summer. Favorite book: The Green Mile, by Stephen King. I read it when I was about 18, and it just blew my mind.
Q: What’s your passion?
A: My kids. My wife. Cycling. Running. I’m a big cricket and football fan. Darby County is my team, though we’re not doing very well at the moment.
Q: If you could give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
A: Don’t doubt yourself so much. I think I did that too much. I would tell myself don’t overthink everything, just get on with things. That’s what I tell my kids. When you've got a problem, say something. Don't sit there quiet and timid in the corner. Be confident.
Dr. Robert Chaffe is an ortho-restorative, implant dentist with a special interest in endodontics and digital dentistry. Robert studied dentistry at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne from 2004 to 2009. He completed a post-graduate fellowship with the Royal College of Surgeons in 2012, as well as an Implant Diploma – learning from some of the world’s leading implants dentists. He is currently studying for his master’s degree in endodontics. Robert’s main areas of interest are implantology, Invisalign, sedation and restorative dentistry. He works with the British Dental Association to support young dentists, speaks at conferences and writes articles for the dental profession. He is an international speaker for Align and exocad and a campaigner for mental health in dentistry. Robert loves playing or watching sports including football, rugby, running, boxing, squash, badminton and golf. He is a huge Derby County fan and loves to travel. Follow his work on Instagram and LinkedIn.