The future of dental technology is here, with the creation and use of many exciting new diagnostic and treatment tools. In today’s digital age, the merging of dentistry and technology is called “Digital Dentistry.” The equipment being developed allows dentists to do a quicker, more detailed examination than they could in the past.
In addition, these high tech instruments greatly enhance the accuracy of various diagnoses and the match them with an appropriate course of treatment. They decrease the time many treatments will take, which saves precious minutes for both dentist and patient. They also allow for various pieces (crowns, mouth guards, etc.) to be created on-the-spot, with no waiting time.
Digital dentistry allows people who live in rural areas or who find it difficult to travel to talk to their oral health care team, and get care while far from the dentist’s office. Although many aspects of examination and treatment can’t be carried out remotely, dentists may still be able to provide a preliminary diagnosis and suggest a possible treatment plan, until an in-person appointment can be arranged.
These are some of the most exciting new tools being used in digital dentistry today:
In the future, lasers will likely replace traditional drills in the dentist’s office. Lasers can be used as part of an overall treatment plan. They are safe and effective, and have a wide variety of uses in the field. Lasers make dental surgery much less complicated and they increase the accuracy of the procedure.
Dentists in every specialization are making the transition to this type of technology, and many are reporting positive feedback from patients — especially regarding soft-tissue lasers that can be used in minor surgical procedures. There are hard tissue lasers that have been developed and tested, and they’re capable of doing everything that current drills accomplish. They are fixed with small mirrors that clean bacteria and hardened plaque off teeth and gums.
Until recently, some lasers were an inexpensive new technology that dental offices could acquire quite easily. However, prices recently increased considerably, making it more prohibitive to purchase them. When cost comes down (especially with increased use), lasers will become even more readily available for patient care.
3D Printing Technology (Bioprinting)
Bioprinting is one of the most exciting new technologies being talked about in dentistry. It allows dental professionals to take a quick scan of a patient’s mouth and then print out a perfect version of dentures, braces, crowns, and retainers fitted to exactly fit an individual.
This technology is miles ahead of past methods where a dentist would take an impression or mould of your mouth and then send it away to someone who would make the apparatus. While many offices now can create needed apparati on-site, with a minimum of wait time, bioprinting may be even quicker. It’s also relatively affordable, once a dental care provider has already purchased a 3D printer. Bioprinting for dentistry is already a four billion dollar industry.
Regenerating Bones and Gum Tissue
One amazing development in 3D technology is using bioprinting to reproduce human tissue. Although research into this area is still in its infancy, researchers have been able to develop a model of a human jaw, bones, and gum tissue. When this technology can eventually be tested on human beings, it could make dentures, bridges and crowns obsolete. An Australian periodontist by the name of Saso Ivanovski has been experimenting with human cells, and already succeeded in developing a jaw bone and gums that potentially could be used as replacement tissue on a human being.
Nanotechnology is the science of rearranging of subatomic particles to create new innovations. Working with atoms on such a miniscule scale gives scientists more control over the process, and this has led to some unique and groundbreaking dentistry developments. Nanotechnology also has been used to regenerate tissue and bone. It allows for the possibility of creating implants which are more stable than the models developed in the past. This regenerated tissue has a much shorter and less painful recovery period than was previously possible.
Another use of nanotechnology is the development of silica that can expertly clean the teeth and gums of bacteria and plaque, to a much better degree of accuracy than before. Silica are an excellent tool for the prevention of future cavities.
An even more innovative use of this technology that’s being developed for cleaning plaque are nanorobots, which could be included in toothpaste or mouthwash. After use they would travel all over a mouth and gums to remove plaque and debris, cleaning every area thoroughly (like a “roomba” for the mouth)!
Dental Health “Gadgets”
In this age of innovative technology, many interesting dental gadgets have been developed to make it easier to maintain daily oral hygiene. There are toothbrushes with cameras that show all areas of your mouth when brushing, so you don’t miss anything. There are apps that will tell you when you’re done brushing, warn you that you’re brushing too hard, and some will even entertain you for the duration of the activity. A new toothbrush product with bluetooth connectivity actually monitors brushing skills over time and gives feedback and pointers on how to improve your technique in future.
There’s a high tech flossing tool (called Flosstime) that’s great for kids, because it helps reinforce their flossing habits. It dispenses the correct amount of floss, times their flossing time, and lights up when their done. Another innovative cordless device allows you to floss your teeth using water, and have control over the level of water pressure.
Devices like these may do a much better job of cleaning in and around your teeth and gums than more traditional methods, so it may be worth talking to your oral health care team to see if these “gadgets” can better help you reach your oral hygiene goals.
The most positive aspect of all of this new and upcoming dental technology is how much it will advance oral health for all of us. These innovations will make dental care more convenient, and improve dentures and crowns, making them more natural. Some of these technologies are already in use, and others are being developed for availability in the not so distant future.
At Park Street Family Dental, we’re committed to providing quality oral health care in a comfortable, friendly environment. We are also dedicated advanced dental technology that makes our patients more comfortable and provides even better treatment. Your overall health is important to us. Give us a call at (519) 743-1911 or email to make an appointment with a dentist and/or dental hygienist today.