Historical evidence suggests that dentistry has been part of human civilization for approximately 9,000 years. Suffice to say that dental science has come a long way over time. Current techniques and technologies would have seemed like the stuff of science fiction 10 or 20 years ago yet, as dentistry continues to evolve at a rapid rate, exciting technological advances are on the cusp of widespread use.
Dental lasers have been in use since the 1990s but are a more common part of the technological “toolbox” of a dental practice as laser technology has advanced and become less expensive. Modern lasers cause little to no pain for patients and allow many common procedures to be performed in much less time than the same treatment when performed with a scalpel or dental drill.
Tooth regeneration is an exciting new advancement in the field. A new process has been created that uses electrical current to remineralize areas of tooth decay. Previously, the only way to stop the spread of tooth decay was to remove the decayed tissue then apply a restorative solution such as a filling or crown. This new technology is still in its early stages, but if it succeeds, it will eliminate the need to use fillings for tooth decay (cavities). Instead, the current from the tooth regeneration process would allow the decaying tooth to heal itself.
Ultraviolet lights can be used to detect oral cancer in even its earliest stage. This technique, which has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration, uses fluorescent UV light to illuminate any irregular cells in the mouth, which can be the first sign of oral cancer. Previously, these cells were undetectable until cancer evolved. The challenge in detecting oral cancer has led to a mortality rate of 50 percent, overall. Using UV light will detect oral cancers sooner, which translates to saving more lives.
Digital X-rays are one of the more popular current advances in dentistry. These digital systems produce clearer images in a faster manner while limiting radiation exposure to the patient by approximately 90 percent as compared to traditional X-ray methods.
Digital cameras also have been beneficial to the dental industry. Specifically, use of a digital intraoral camera allows an in-depth look at any individual tooth. These images can easily be stored or printed and added to a patient’s file for later referencing or transfer to a dental specialist.
3-D printing is one of the most exciting technological advances in recent years, and it presents unique benefits. The use of 3-D printing could be particularly useful in restorative dentistry. Typically, many restorative treatments such as crowns require two visits to the dentist because, in many cases, these permanent restorations are made off site, hence the wait, but having 3-D printing in-office would allow faster and less expensive manufacture of dental restorations. This saves patients time and money.
For more information regarding dental technology, please contact Bryant Consultants.
At Bryant Consultants, we help you realize your vision, establish goals, and set processes in place to evolve your practice. Contact us by calling (877) 768-4799.
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