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What the Future Holds for Guided Surgery



Our guest on this episode of the Best Practices Show podcast is Dr. Scott MacLean. Scott lives in Nova Scotia and he has harnessed digital platforms to position himself as a thought leader in the dental industry, traveling all over the world to speak on guided surgery. A lifelong learner, he is always eager to pass along new knowledge that will help fellow dentists, and one of the main outlets for this knowledge exchange is the Seattle Study Club, which hosts an annual symposium that is a must for any clinician looking to advance their practice.

Scott talks with Kirk about the different methods of guided surgery (dynamic and template-guided) and the various ways that technology is integrated into the process to ensure the proper placement of implants. He also discusses the responsibility that dentists should feel to care for their patients holistically, taking a thorough look at the scans and x-rays of each patient to understand what is going on in their overall health rather than just focusing on looking for a specific issue.

In the future, Scott sees Artificial Intelligence becoming a bigger part of the pre-diagnosis process and he believes that non-ionizing radiation will become commonplace when it comes to scans and x-rays. Even though technology continues to advance, he says that there is no possibility that dentists will become obsolete because dentistry must be done with hands that have been informed by the brain, and machines just don’t have the reasoning skills to accomplish that. Scott emphasizes the importance of bringing the rest of your team on board with all of the technology you bring into your practice because it will completely change the way you care for patients if you take the time to train your team members.

Main Takeaways:

  • The positive impacts of the Seattle Study Club Symposium (5:08)
  • Why is the future of guided surgery so important? (10:56)
  • The capabilities of Artificial Intelligence in assisting with dentistry (19:36)
  • What is on the horizon for dental advances? (29:52)
  • A good word for young dentists (40:26)

Key Quotes:

“The goal is to understand the principles of healing in the body.”

“Guided surgery to me meant linking my brain to my hand.”

“Where I see scanners and x-rays going in the future is to non-ionizing radiation.”

“Dentistry is something that happens with the hands.”

“There is no COVID virus that travels over the Internet, so you end up having a very sterile file that goes to the lab.”

“You need to latch on to mentors.”


  • 13:25-14:28 – Guided surgery: the infrastructure and variables
  • 19:36-20:49 – A/I capabilities, pre-diagnosis potential
  • 26:11-26:32 – The systematic approach of guided dentistry
  • 32:28-33:39 – The use of iPhones in dentistry
  • 40:45-41:49 – Mentorship in business and life

Bio of guest:

Dr. MacLean was born in Kingston, Ontario and makes his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He attended Acadia University, where he studied for a Bsc. He played for the Acadia Axemen varsity football team and was part of the team when they won the national championship. He has been recognized in the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame for his athletic achievements.

After Acadia, Dr. MacLean went on to the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie University, graduating in 1991 with a DDS. At Dalhousie he received several honours and awards for achievement and leadership, including being named class president, class valedictorian, and winning the International College of Dentists Leadership Award. Dr. MacLean is the owner of Trimac Dental Centre in Halifax, where he maintains a strong focus on implant and aesthetic dentistry. Dr. MacLean is a Fellow of the GNYAP.  He also served as a part-time clinical instructor at the Dalhousie University School of Dentistry for 15 years.



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