Ever Changing Dental Technology…
There are very few professions that resist change. The scope and nature of most any career path is surely to evolve and adapt over the coming decades. The jobs and careers our kids will have may not even yet exist today. This wave of change certainly applies to most any career in the sciences, including dentistry. Technology and discovery are constantly changing the ways in which we diagnose, maintain, and save teeth. Technology is also continually changing the patient experience. Here are a few of the ways that dentistry is currently evolving.
CAD/CAM - Computer aided design and manufacturing has already taken the dental laboratory industry by storm. Quite a few of today’s tooth colored dental crowns are designed and made by computers. The fit and precision of these restorations exceeds what could be done in the past. Strength and esthetics are catching up and a day will come when most all replacement teeth will be fabricated by this technology.
Digital Imaging - From digital intra-oral cameras to three-dimensional cone beam x-ray scans, imaging in the dental setting continues to evolve. Digital pictures help to explain conditions to patients and to ensure that insurance companies understand treatment rendered. The advantage of digital radiography is less radiation exposure to patients while offering better diagnostic abilities to doctors.
Digital Impressions - Scanning technology continues to improve. The day is almost here when those gooey impressions will permanently be a thing of the past. Dental moulds will soon routinely be taken electronically with a scanning wand. This allows for a permanent digital record and the ease of transferring models to dental labs electronically.
3-D Printing - Speaking of models, those old stone dental models will also be a thing of the past. Most will be stored and viewed digitally. The ones that do need to be produced will soon be printed on 3—D model printers. They will be more durable and more accurate and will eventually cost less to produce.
Digital Patient Communication - Most dental offices run digital practice management software. Most dental patients are tethered to a smart phone. These two facts are helping to create new technologies where patients can manage their dental visits online or through text messaging. These technologies will continue to evolve to make dental visits more convenient.
Digital Anesthesia - Computer-aided technology is even making the dreaded dental injection (also called “the shot”) more comfortable. A specialized control unit can sometimes be used to numb one tooth at a time, nearly painlessly. This procedure really works well on kids.
Pharmaceuticals - From new antibiotics that fight gum disease to improved bone grafting materials to a potential vaccine to prevent cavities, research is ongoing to improve dental outcomes and stop dental disease.
The future of dentistry is bright. The evolution of all of this technology will continue to improve the dental patient experience.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com