Background and Overview. Computers are becoming an integral part of the practice of dentistry. Smaller, smarter and more ergonomic computing devices will support an increasing proportion of dental practice activities. Technology will make practice management more efficient, mainly by reducing transactional overhead. Educational software and intelligent assistants will increasingly support the needs for decision making in clinical practice. Research will benefit from automated tools for data acquisition, management and analysis. Conclusions. Dentistry must actively shape the application of technology. It can do this by developing a cadre of experts in dental informatics, relying on sound research principles, effectively disseminating best practices and developing strategic objectives for the implementation of technology. Clinical Implications. Computer technology is an essential ingredient for state-of-the-art patient care. Dentists must stay current with this rapidly developing field to make appropriate choices in their use of technology.
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