The technology used in cosmetic dentistry has made huge developments across the industry. With the advent of many digital technologies, procedures that took weeks to complete are finished within days. The trend is towards making dental processes more natural, comfortable and less invasive than in years past. Toxic compounds and cumbersome processes are giving way to efficient technologies, so there is no excuse for putting off that long-overdue dentist appointment!
There are several new advancements within dental technology, both expediting procedures as well as systematizing care across treatment teams.
Some technologies you may encounter on your next trip to the dentist:
You may or may not remember these from trips to the dentist. Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool and have been around for years. Technology is constantly improving, making these tests safer and more accurate than ever before.
You may still need to bite the sensor and wear a protective apron, but aside from lessening your exposure to harmful radiation, digital X-rays are faster to produce and can be stored on a computer, making it easier to access for dentists and other professionals to access your information. Because of the clarity of the imagery, it easier to determine how successful treatments went and if additional work needs to be done.
Handheld digital scanners take insanely accurate 3D images of affected areas and transmit them to compatible software for analysis.
CAD/CAM Software in Dentistry
CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) techniques make previously impossible restorations possible. These technologies allow for fewer visits to develop dental fabrications such as crowns and bridges. In the past, a mold of your teeth would have to be fashioned, sent to a lab to be created, and then returned several weeks later. With CAD/CAM technology, a crown can be manufactured in the office the moment the image is available. Sometimes in as little as an hour!
CNC dental milling machines enable dental labs and technicians to consistently produce precision dental prosthetics every time.
Laser technology already has a firm hold in eye surgery, dermatology and general surgery, and dentistry is next! Laser can precisely remove decay, preserve more of the healthy tooth structure and can be almost painless. They are preferred in gum recontouring and soft tissue periodontal surgery, and work best on the top surface of teeth.
Improved Restoration Materials
Gone are the days of Amalgam and other harmful toxins that would fill your mouth and gums. Today’s preferred bonding material is resin, which can be shaded to match the natural color of your teeth. In addition to being shinier, resin lasts longer than older materials and can be layered when repairing your teeth.
Composite restorative materials represent one of the many successes of modern biomaterials research since they replace biological tissue in both appearance and function. An example of this is gum sculpting, made possible with tissue grafts, like Alloderm, that enable dentists to reshape and reconstruct patient smiles. Further advances are still in development, but the future both in regards to research and in clinical practice remains bright with exciting new developments.
3D printers can be used to create models, surgical guides and veneers or dentures. The machine is about the size of an office copier. Eventually, the printer can be used to make accurate veneer and denture molds that match the color and shape of an individual’s teeth, on the spot!
Advances in DNA technology has provided unprecedented accuracy in identifying biological organisms and bacteria. Patients afflicted with chronic gum disease now have an opportunity to target specific bacteria strains necessary to provide more effective treatment.
The latest advancements in radiographs, scanning, CAD software, computer numerical control (CNC) milling and restoration materials allow dental offices and labs to deliver custom production with speed and precision. For dentists and patients, such advancements could mean lowered costs for complicated oral procedures and also more accurate tooth reproductions for veneers and models. With technology making dental visits easier and faster, it is all the more important to make your oral health a top priority. Contact TMProsthodontics to see how we can help you achieve your dental goals!