A trip to the dentist was not always the easy, comfortable experience it is now. It was actually dangerous, possibly life-threatening as dentists didn’t have as much knowledge, had limited access to crude tools and equipment and didn’t know much about sanitation.
Over the years, the dental industry has experienced many technological advancements. In fact, there is more technology in the dental field today than at any other time in dental history. The dental technological advancements have helped dentists improve the treatment of their patients and have given patients a more pleasant dental office experience.
Below are some of the dental innovations that have shaped modern dentistry as well as open the door for further dental technological advancements:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning has been used in multiple industries to collect and interpret large amounts of data. In dentistry, the use of AI enables dentists and their staff to collect and process large amounts of data from patient files, intraoral scans and 3D images to arm dental staff with the detailed information they need to go about with the best treatment. Artificial intelligence has also undergone changes as more sophisticated systems are being produced to not only collect and interpret data, but also suggest options for treatment, predict treatment problems and complications and prescribe medication and procedures that will least likely interfere with treatment success and healing time.
Virtual Reality (VR)
You’ve likely heard of or experienced virtual reality when it comes to playing games or watching movies at home. Virtual reality also has the potential to transform the dental field. Virtual reality can offer better “hands on” training for aspiring dental team members as well as advance the skills of already practicing dentists and hygienists.
For the patient, virtual reality can provide an even more pleasant dental experience through an immersive distraction. Preoccupied patients lose their fear and calm down, allowing the dentist to do quicker, better treatment.
Robots approved by the FDA have been used in dentistry to perform low-level oral surgery. While robots for now can provide accurate, precise dental implant placement, dental robot development will continue to improve and advance, making robots much more capable of accurately, precisely and efficiently performing additional oral surgery procedures. Robotic dental procedures are less invasive, more accurate, are less prone to accidents and provide shorter, better healing times.
Similar to artificial intelligence and virtual reality, 3D printing has become a popular catchphrase used in many industries. 3D printing has been utilized in the dental field for a few years now and is extremely popular because of the improved treatment procedure on patients. Dental crowns, implants and dentures are the most common dental elements made with 3D printing. This fast, convenient way to provide patients with the dental appliances they need almost immediately.
When you think of an ultrasound, you often think of a pregnant couple seeing their baby for the first time. While this technology has done wonders in the medical industry by giving soon-to-be parents a look of their child and give doctors a chance to look and see anything that can jeopardize the healthy development of the baby, the same technology has been used by dentists to check the condition of a patient’s teeth and gums and notice anything abnormal.
CEREC (CAD/CAM) Technology
CAD/CAM technology has been used in the dental industry for the last few years using a machine called CEREC. This type of technology utilizes computer and 3D imaging software to produce needed dental restorations for patients. These restorations are mostly comprised of crowns, dental implants and dentures. Prior to CEREC, these kinds of dental restorations were made in an offsite dental laboratory. It took many weeks for the restorations to be made and returned to the dental office for placement. If the fit wasn’t correct, the restoration would be sent back and more waiting was needed for alterations.
Today’s CAD/CAM technology can digitally scan a patient’s mouth and enter the results and data from the scans into the computer to custom design dental restorations. With these CEREC machines, blocks of composite resin or ceramic are used for the restorations. Additionally, CAD/CAM machines can also bond veneers to tooth enamel without removing a layer of enamel that is typically required.
The dental field has undergone numerous improvements thanks to technological innovations and developments. At Marshall, Shofner & Phan Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we utilize the newest dental technology available to give our patients the pleasant dental office experience and best treatment results possible. If the fear of the dentist has kept you from getting the routine dental care you need, contact us today and let us help you get that beautiful, healthy smile you’ve always wanted.