13 Steps to Kill Your Cancellations

Improve your life and your schedule with this fantastic FREE WEBINAR on how to kill your cancellations. Share this with your team!

Watch It Now!

Ep. #451: Digital Workflows Changing the Landscape of Dentistry, with Dr. John Cranham & Lee Culp

the best practices show podcast Jul 27, 2022

Digital is one of the greatest things that’s happened in dentistry. You can get more done in less time with higher predictability. So, why aren't more dentists transitioning to a digital workflow? Today, Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. John Cranham and Lee Culp, founders of Cranham Culp Digital Dental, to explore the resistance to digital, how that prevents high-level dentistry, and steps to transition to a digital workflow. Digital is the future! To start your transition journey today, listen to Episode 451 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

  • Efficiency, predictability, and communication improves with digital.
  • Using digital will help you educate patients on the spot.
  • Avoid going back and forth from analog to digital.
  • Digital is as good — if not better — than analog.
  • High-level dentistry requires technology.
  • You can't learn this in a weekend.


  • “[Digital is] an incredible time-savings. And then, the outputs are so much better, it leads to higher degrees of predictability in what we’re doing.” (8:22—8:31)
  • “I had a conversation with some of the people we’re coaching — it was kind of a game — ‘How much money would somebody have to give you to take your 3Shape away? To go back to stone and do it the way you used to, how much would they have to give you?’ It’s a big number for me because of how much better it is and how much more efficient it is.” (8:33—8:56)
  • “I used to really think you couldn't do veneers with scanning. I do veneers with scanning all the time now.” (9:51—9:57)
  • “The tip that I would tell, and this is where I think people get into trouble, is they don't trust the digital. So, what they will do is they’ll start to do something digital, and then they go back to analog to check it. And when you start going back and forth between analog and digital, I think you can really screw things up. It’s better to be all digital or all analog.” (10:26—10:50)
  • “I don't know that we’re doing any better with impressions than we are with digital scans. And we can still do corrective casts if things aren't working. But [with digital,] Dr. Cranham is able to do things so much faster, and efficient, and be able to educate his patients right then, not two weeks later after we pour all the models and do all this.” (12:16—12:37)
  • “I can simulate anything you can possibly think of on my computer screen.” (13:12—13:17)
  • “When we look at what's going on in the research community and the prosthodontic community and all the journals, everything is digital. All the research is digital now. Obviously, there is biological research going on. But if it’s anything in prosthodontics where we’re making things, all the journals are digital now. And I think that qualification from the universities is something we needed to have because we’re showing cool things that could be done very predictably every day.” (15:16—15:47)
  • “Dr. Dawson used to say that it was good for the patient to come back because at the first visit, you just showed them the problems. They needed a week or so to think about the problems in order to accept the case. Well, I don't know if that's true or not. I think we maybe said that because it made us feel better about the fact that it took us a week to mount the models.”  (20:29—20:50)
  • “Patients come in, and the more we can get done that day is a good thing — if we’re not compromising.” (21:33—21:41)
  • “My real passion is, if I can get more dentists to not freaking wing it and to really plan where they're going, dentistry is going to be better. And that's what I feel like, is that the old way, dentists found out that they could do a pretty good job not really having a clear picture and visualizing but prepping the teeth and letting the lab sort it all out. Sometimes, that works out. Sometimes, it doesn't.” (22:06—22:35)
  • “[Digital] eliminates a lot of “winging it” because we’re so much more efficient now.” (23:27—23:33)
  • “To me, one of the most amazing things about this is, whether I'm communicating with Lee, an orthodontist, a surgeon, the patient, whoever, the level of communication is — it’s not even close to what we were doing before. It’s so much better. And again, if you're communicating at a high level, you're going to get better outputs that are closer to what you want.” (24:53—25:18)
  • “I think it’s important for people to understand that it’s not that analog doesn't work. It, of course, works. It’s the way we’ve done it for a really long time. But I do think that the trends in dentistry, like if you look at the companies that are making investments in stones and things like that, there's going to be a time that they’ll stop making some of those products. I mean, it’s starting to slowly shift in that direction.” (29:46—30:13)
  • “It won't be 100% digital when I retire. That's for sure. But I certainly think in my daughter’s lifetime as a dentist, I think the ability to do traditional impressions is going to be very, very limited.” (30:18—30:31)
  • “What I would say to dentists thinking about it, there are so many good studies now about the accuracy of scanning to being at least as good as analog. So, if we just talk about the fit, there are tons of studies that say it’s at least as good — many saying it’s better. But when you add into that the ability to scan a bite as opposed to squirting something between the teeth to capture this dynamic impression, the speed and the patient’s acceptance, the liking of the process, is off the charts.” (30:34—31:19)
  • “When you go to your physician, if they're showing you something, they're not holding up X-rays anymore. You're looking at things on screens and pointing things out. It’s just where we are.” (35:44—35:55)
  • “If you want to be known as doing this at the highest level, I think there's an expectation that you're doing it at the highest level with technology.” (36:18—36:27)


  • 0:00 Introduction.
  • 2:22 Dr. Cranham and Lee’s backgrounds.
  • 4:12 Transitioning to digital workflows.
  • 8:56 Should you go 100% digital?
  • 10:55 You can do anything in digital.
  • 13:39 How accurate is digital?
  • 15:48 Digital streamlines your planning.
  • 18:46 Other ways patients benefit from digital.
  • 23:42 Using digital improves communication.
  • 25:31 Remakes will decrease by using digital.
  • 28:34 Fear and resistance toward digital.
  • 32:48 Be a patient to gain patient perspective.
  • 36:27 Having a coach at the lab.
  • 37:58 Last thoughts on the digital workflow.
  • 42:42 How Dr. Cranham and Lee can help your practice.
  • 46:40 More about Cranham Culp Digital Dental and how to get in touch.

Reach Out to Dr. Cranham:

Dr. Cranham’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.c.cranham

Dr. Cranham’s social media: @johnccranhamdds

Reach Out to Lee:

Lee’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lee.culp.cdt

Lee’s social media: @leeculpcdt


Cranham Culp Digital Dental: www.ccdigitaldental.com

Dr. John Cranham Bio:

Dr. John C. Cranham is a highly respected and renowned dentist in Chesapeake, Virginia. At his state-of-the-art office, he delivers unsurpassed general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and restorative dentistry, including TMJ THERAPY and DENTAL IMPLANT SERVICES. Dr. Cranham uses his vast experience and expansive knowledge to create healthy, natural-looking smiles. 

Dr. Cranham was an honors graduate of the Medical College of Virginia in 1988. He’s an internationally recognized speaker on the esthetic principles of smile design, contemporary occlusal concepts, treatment planning, restoration selection, digital photography, laboratory communication, and happiness and fulfillment in dentistry. 

Dr. Cranham founded Cranham Dental Seminars, which provides lectures, mobile programs, and intensive hands-on experiences to dentists around the world. In 2008, Cranham Dental Seminars merged with THE DAWSON ACADEMY, a world-famous continuing education facility based in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

As The Dawson Academy’s acting Clinical Director, Dr. Cranham is involved with many of the courses and provides continuing education to dental professionals across the globe. He spends approximately two-thirds of his time in private practice and the other third as an educator. He believes this balance keeps him on the leading edge of both disciplines. 

A published author, Dr. Cranham is committed to providing the highest quality patient care, as well as developing sound educational programs that exceed the needs of today’s dental professional. 

Dr. Cranham is an active member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, and American Equilibration Society. 

Lee Culp, CDT Bio:

Lee Culp, CDT, is the CEO of Sculpture Studios, a dental laboratory, education, and research and product development center for new and innovative digital dental technologies and their applied applications to diagnostic, restorative, and surgical dentistry. He is a pioneer in digital dentistry and a leading resource/inventor for many of the materials, products, and techniques used in dentistry today, and holds numerous patents for his ideas and products. Lee writes many articles per year, and his writing, photography, and teaching style have brought him international recognition as one of today’s most exciting lecturers and innovative artisans in the specialty of digital dentistry, dental ceramics, and functional esthetics.

Lee is the 2007 recipient of the Kenneth Rudd Award from the American Society of Prosthodontics, the 2007 recipient of the AACD Presidents Award for Excellence in Dental Education, the 2003 recipient of the National Association of Dental Laboratories, Excellence in Education Award, the 2013 American College of Prosthodontics-Dental Technician Leadership Award, the 2014 Spectrum Publishing-Lifetime Achievement award, and the Dr. Peter Dawson-Dawson Academy 2016 – Dentistry Distinguished Service Award. 


Get The Best Practices Magazine FREE!

YES, it is now in print!  See the Best Practices from the very Best Practices in Dentistry, so that you and your team can create a Better Practice and a Better Life!

Send Me the Magazine!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

You will be notified when new blogs are posted when new podcasts are broadcasted, and a variety of other industry resources.

Contact Us
ACT Dental
220 E. Buffalo Street Suite #320
Milwaukee, WI 53202
[email protected]