Smart students choose digital

May 23, 2024

Some people know what they want to do from a young age. Tatiana Cursino Pereira says she always wanted to go into dentistry and a pivotal meeting with exocad expert and Insights speaker Prof. Guilherme Saavedra showed her the full possibilities of what is now possible in the dental world. The Brazilian doctoral student offers her hot take on digital trends at the university and how the next generation is hungry to adopt the latest tools for patient care.

Q: Tell us a bit about you. How did you become interested in dentistry? What are you studying?

A: As a child, I always played dentist with my stuffed animals, and I always liked my dentist.  For me, it was natural. I just knew. I did my undergraduate degree at the São Paulo State University and pursued a specialization in pediatric dentistry and a master's in restorative dentistry. During my course, I got in touch with Prof. Guilherme Saavedra, and he expanded my horizons. Today, I am doing my doctorate, also at the São Paulo State University, in the area of dental prosthesis, with research focused on implantology, technology, and innovation, under the guidance of this dear mentor.

Q: How important do you think the use of digital tools in dentistry is today?

A: Digital tools are now widely recognized for making dental treatments more accurate, predictable, efficient and faster. These tools are not only great for patients, but they also positively affect dentists and other dental professionals. In a world where people often stick to their own areas, thinking their field is the most important, this can lead to being isolated and too sure of ourselves. This attitude makes it hard to see how everything connects. But digital technology can change this by bringing us together. It makes it easier to reach different dental specialties and helps dentists work better with each other.

“Digital solutions will be our allies. If we know how to use the tools, we can have high-level assistance available to us 24 hours a day.”

Q: Have you used exocad software?

A: Yes, I had the opportunity to use the exoplan and DentalCAD software as part of my doctoral research in digital technologies applied to Implantology.

Q: What are your impressions of DentalCAD?

A: exocad products are very powerful. For me, the platform is the materialization of the meeting between art and science. The software is an exploratory, safe, easy-to-handle, and intuitive environment. Dental professionals can exercise all their creativity, grounded in science, to make the best decisions for treating their patients.

“What will differentiate one professional from another will be how we manage new technology—and the ability to quickly adapt and adopt new approaches to patient care.”

Q: How do digital solutions change your view of your professional future?

A: I believe that digital solutions will be our allies. If we know how to use the tools, we can have high-level assistance available to us 24 hours a day, helping us make the right decisions and enabling the delivery of high-quality treatment. What will differentiate one professional from another will be how we manage new technology—and the ability to quickly adapt and adopt new approaches to patient care.

To watch this Youtube video, you must agree to the loading of functional and advertising cookies. You can find a link to change your cookie preferences at the bottom of this page.

Tatiana demonstrates how she uses exocad software to deliver high-quality patient care.

Q: How does technology help deliver high-quality patient care? Do you have a specific example?

A: For a patient who wants to replace a missing molar, I can capture a 3D digital impression of the patient's mouth using intraoral scanners, which I then integrate with a CBCT scan in exoplan to create a virtual patient model. Within this digital environment, I carefully assess the bone quality and quantity at the implant site, identifying vital structures to avoid, such as the inferior alveolar nerve if it is a lower tooth or the maxillary sinus if it's an upper molar. Using exocad's implant planning tools, I can perform reverse planning, where I design the ideal crown position and shape to achieve the best esthetic and functional results. This information then guides the correct choice of implant diameter, length, and placement, as well as the prosthetic component. Based on this digital planning, I can order a custom surgical guide to be 3D printed, which helps me transfer the virtual implant position to the patient's mouth during surgery with high accuracy. Thanks to the precision of the digital workflow, the implant can be placed exactly as planned.

Q: Do your professors teach digital dental workflows? Are they comfortable with the new technology?

A: As with everything that is disruptive, the integration of analog dentistry with digital dentistry can be challenging and generate resistance at first. In my doctoral program, I am fortunate to have a mentor who is a recognized leader in the field of digital technologies applied to implantology. His knowledge and enthusiasm has been a great inspiration to me.

Q: What’s your opinion about being born in a digital generation?

A: It's a mixed bag of feelings. Technology has definitely made our lives easier, but we need to watch out for falling into a comfort zone. At the same time, the constant evolution of digital tech makes me feel like I have to keep up with all these changes, which can be pretty demanding. It's a tricky balance between enjoying the perks of technology and dealing with the pressure to stay on top of its non-stop progress.

Q: What’s the perspective of other students at your university on technology versus analog in the dental field?

A: I think everyone is impressed to see a digital workflow in action. Sometimes technology can seem like a wall too high to climb, but it's gratifying to see the confidence and enthusiasm of my colleagues increase as they become familiar with these tools.

Q: If you could go anywhere for a weekend trip, where would it be?

A: I would go to a nearby beach with the people I love. Being at sea level, close to nature, with people I like is the perfect setting for me.

Q: Favorite song?

A: "Maria, Maria" by Milton Nascimento, in the voice of Elis Regina, is my eternal song.

Q: What’s your passion outside of dentistry?

A: I am interested in all forms of body movement, whether it's yoga, going to the gym, or sports in general. But my greatest passion is dance. I have been a ballerina since I was four years old, and this is the form of expression I have chosen for myself.

Q: One word for exocad?

A: Transformative.

Image Bio Tatiana

Tatiana Cursino Pereira graduated from the Faculty of Dentistry of São José dos Campos, Sao Paulo State University, UNESP, in 2018. This dedicated dentist began her journey as a pediatric specialist. Her thirst for knowledge led her to pursue a Master's degree in Restorative Dentistry at UNESP, which she obtained in 2022. During this time, she had the opportunity to serve as an External Researcher at the Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she developed groundbreaking research on New Technologies Applied to Dental Prosthetics. 

Currently, she is embarking on a doctorate in Dental Prosthetics and Dental Materials at UNESP, conducting both laboratory and clinical research focused on Oral Rehabilitation, Implantology, and Digital Dentistry. Tatiana believes in preventive practices and digital solutions as allies for patient care, remaining at the forefront of technological and scientific advancements in the field. Follow Tatiana on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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.