The Best Practices Magazine Sent to You for Free!

When you think Best Practices, think the Best Practices Magazine. It is Free!

The Dilemma of Digital Dentistry


On this episode of The Best Practices Show, host Kirk and co-host Kevin spend time with Dr. John Cranham, a full-time dentist and also a lecturer, to discuss the digital dilemma, the transition and cost of going digital in dentistry. John begins by addressing the reason for going digital. The hope in going digital is that your quality and your efficiency will improve once you make the transition. He emphasizes that all of the technological advancements make this is an exciting time to be in the field of dentistry.

One important point John makes in regard to the digital transition and advancements, is how important analog experience is. The ultimate work that is done in dentistry is analog work and the former way of taking molds and doing models gave you practice that prepared you for the work to be done in the dental procedures but doing scans and models digitally, takes away that opportunity.

John goes on to share that there are two main dilemmas in going digital. The first, and most common dilemma, is cost. He shares that in his opinion, the cost ultimately balances out when you consider material cost that you will no longer have, as well as time savings. He also encourages people when they are shopping around to consider the reasons why equipment prices differ. Another hesitation that people often have is that they are not tech savvy enough. John’s response to that is that often it’s the assistants who will be using the equipment and they will receive training in how to use equipment. He gives the encouragement that going digital is necessary if you want to be as predictable, efficient and profitable as possible.

Another benefit of going digital, is the ability to communicate the problems and the solutions to the patients. When you can digitally show a patient what is going on inside of their mouth, and how the mouth is a whole system, it increases their understanding of why something needs to be done. Additionally, there is much less error and need for adjustments when using digital over analog.

Towards the end, John shares about his new book coming out, The Cornell Effect. He gives a glimpse into what his son’s journey has meant to him and some of the principles he writes about in his book. He also shares about what the Dawson Academy has meant to him and why you should consider it.

Main Takeaways 

  • Going digital allows you to be more accurate and more efficient (06:30)
  • The new digital technology makes dentistry an exciting field to be a part of right now (10:05)
  • The biggest dilemma of going digital is cost (18:18)
  • It’s important to go digital if you want to be as predictable, efficient and profitable as possible (24:30)
  • The digital way results in the least amount of error and adjustments. (40:55)

Key Quotes 

“For me, if I’m going to jump into digital, I’m going to make sure it’s at least going to be, quality wise, as good as what I can do in the analog world.”-John

“My personal hope is it’s going to make the ability to be able to visualize optimal dentistry and design occlusions, to design beautiful smiles, much more attractive to the mainstream population of dentists, because it’s not going to be as difficult.” -John

“The things I was dreaming about fifteen years ago are here now and evolving at warp speed.” -John

“You cannot replace the experience of doing something analog.” -Kevin

“When you get to your patient, your patient is one hundred percent analog. It’s analog, you’ve got to do it with your own hands.” -John

“I think that that’s what everybody gets stuck on, is the cost, and then I think the second thing that people get stuck on is maybe they’re not that technologically savvy.”  -John

“I think you’re going to leave predictability, efficiency and profitability on the table if you don’t start getting into this game.” -John

“My goal for what I do, as a dentist, and maybe the legacy that I would like to leave behind is, I would like to be able to take all the protocols that Dr. Dawson sort of created, in terms of doing more complex dentistry, and do this in a more efficient, predictable manner in the digital world.” -John

“If you want to start getting excited about doing some of the larger things, these are the protocols that are just going to get better and better.” -John

“There’s just people sometimes put on this earth to inspire people.” -John


05:19-10:59- The importance of going digital

14:28-17:39- The importance of having analog experience, even when transitioning to digital

17:55-24:36- The dilemma of going digital

31:48-35:13- The improvement of communication with patients when using digital

35:39-43:25- The future of dentistry from a digital perspective

Bio of guest

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

Education and Accomplishments

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.


He 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.

Peter E. Dawson, D.D.S. is considered to be one of the most influential clinicians and teachers in the history of dentistry. He is the founder of the “Concept of Complete Dentistry Series” as well as The Dawson Academy.


Dr. John Cranham



Subscribe to our newsletter

Don’t miss out on valuable insights, updates, and inspiration. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive regular updates on the latest dental practice growth strategies, success stories, and exclusive offers directly in your inbox. Join our community of dental professionals committed to creating better practices and better lives.

Subscribe To Our Blog (Newsletter)! - Footer

"(Required)" indicates required fields