Advances in Dental Technology
Since the dental industry is constantly adapting to meet the needs of patients, many dentists find it challenging to stay up-to-date with all the new developments. In order to keep up with today’s highly competitive market, it’s imperative to keep abreast of the latest technological advancements. Here are three interesting technological developments.
3-D Printed Dental Implants and Aligners
Dental implants and aligners both address very different issues: implants are meant for teeth that are cosmetically and/or structurally beyond repair, and aligners are intended to straighten out already healthy teeth. However, one technology is making huge improvements for both dental procedures, and that technology is 3-D printing. A few years ago, it wasn’t thought possible that dental professionals could use 3-D printers to create dental implants and aligners in a cost-efficient manner. Fast forward to 2020, the dental offices that adopted this new technology are able to produce these dental devices at a fraction of the retail cost. Additionally, this 3-D printing method often results in more accurate end-results for patients than the older methods. If you’re worried that your office has missed the boat, don’t fret: it was only recently that 3-D printing these devices became efficient and cost-effective.
Cone Beam Computed Tomography
In the past, dental professionals have used intraoral and conventional radiographic procedures to image their patient’s teeth, but these methods have significant limitations. They are only able to create two-dimensional images of teeth, so there’s room to misinterpret the projections and consequently, perform the wrong procedure. To overcome this issue, Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) was developed. CBCT allows us to create three-dimensional images at both a lower radiation dose and cost. This technique of radiographic imaging makes it easier for dentists to diagnose dental diseases and assess the condition of hard dental tissue prior to surgeries.
Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Caries
Diagnosing caries in the early stages is incredibly important to maintaining your patient’s dental health. Large areas of exterior tooth caries are easy to identify, but small or mostly hidden areas are difficult to diagnose. Many times, a dental professional will decide to wait and see if the decay worsens before performing any type of corrective procedure. Conversely, some dental professionals choose to take a more aggressive approach and they will use their explorer tool to inspect the damage. This method can cause damage to intact enamel pits and possibly carry caries-causing microbes over to healthy teeth. To combat this predicament, a non-invasive device, the Electronic Caries Detector (ECD), was developed and it’s changing the game for many dentists. This device can be gently placed against a patient’s tooth and it will generate the electrical conductance of the tooth surface. For healthy enamel, the electric current reading will be zero, because it will prevent the flow of the current. If an area of the tooth has external and/or internal decay, the electric current will freely flow through the surface, so the electric current will generate readings of up to 100. This painless, non-invasive procedure will help a dentist determine if there are any sort of caries they need to address in their patient’s teeth.
The Bottom Line
Dental technology is evolving and improving every single day and we recommend keeping up with any significant changes. Richmond Dental maintains a regularly updated, free library of blogs and articles to help you stay informed.