Science and technology are constantly advancing and with the power of a globalized world, information travels faster and to more people. It is now easier than ever before for brilliant minds to collaborate and improve on discoveries, thus producing better results mostly within a faster timeframe than in the past.
The dental industry has seen advances within all its fields due to the progress science and technology. Some of these advances had their breakthroughs in unrelated industries – like 3D printing for example -but were able to be implemented in dentistry. There are a few notable technologies that are improving the industry of dental health.
Digital X-Rays – unlike traditional X-rays, digital X-rays expose patients to less radiation. This is because a phosphor plate (which is more sensitive than the commonly used film) is placed inside the mouth of the patient and then an image is captured which in turn is sent to a computer for analysis. This new technology is not only used for finding cavities but also assessing root canal surgery and assessing the success of a dental implant. Digital X-ray technology has been around for a while but only recently caught on in dentistry.
3D Printing – this technology first made its appearance in the late eighties. With more industries finding a way to leverage the power of 3D printing and the advancement of better technologies and procedures, 3D printing keeps getting better and better. Dentists are now using it to print out 3D plastic replicas of patients’ mouths for when they want to plan dental reconstruction surgery or implant braces.
This makes the process of analysis much easier because they have a realistic example at hand instead of analyzing images or keeping the patient in consulting sessions for longer than they would like to. Invisalign – these are practically invisible braces. Invisalign is a proprietary technology that is used for straightening teeth. It consists of a custom made mold that fits into the teeth, over time the teeth move in order to take the shape of the mold. The alignment is done in stages, each new mold that is fitted slowly leads to the correct final alignment of the teeth.
Unlike braces, when you have an Invisalign mold fitted on, you don’t have to watch the types of food you eat and brushing and flossing are not a problem because the molds are easily removable. Tooth colored fillings – cavities have been usually filled with amalgam, gold or silver. However, since these filling materials aren’t the natural color of teeth, they will always stand as a reminder of the cavity.
A new material made out of composite resin has been developed, this resin can be colored to match perfectly with a patient’s teeth. Composite resins can be used for filling cavities, cracks or crowning a chipped tooth. It dries within minutes after application, is completely metal free, it has less sensitivity to heat and cold and with proper maintenance; can last for years.
With these and more unmentioned technologies, the industry of dentistry is advancing into a brighter future. Researchers are even working on toothbrush sized devices that can scan, diagnose and recommend treatment procedures without you even having to visit a dentist. There is a lot the future has in store.