Self-driving cars, voice and facial recognition technology, phones that unlock with a thumbprint---new technology is added to our daily lives so regularly that it doesn’t even surprise us anymore! The best technology are those things that can make our lives better by improving our health and adding value to available medical treatments. In the field of dentistry, we’ve come a long way in recent decades and this has improved both the quality of care and the comfort of patients. |
Some of my favorite recent technological advances in dentistry include the following.
Before dental implants, losing your teeth used to mean you had to wear loose, unstable dentures that hurt your gums and didn’t stay in place well. Today, a patient can choose to have titanium implants embedded into the jaw to replace natural tooth roots. Once those implants have fused with the jaw bones, a denture plate can be attached for sturdy life-like replacement teeth.
Lasers in Dentistry
For patients with dental anxiety, sometimes the sounds, vibrations, and smells associated with a dental drill are the worst form of torture. Today, dentists don’t have to use a drill, since the same function can be achieved with dental laser. Lasers are quieter and create less noise and vibration. They are also a more precise cutting tool, and they can treat a tooth with greater precision than a drill. At different frequencies, lasers can also be used to replace a scalpel for soft tissue cutting; the benefits of a laser scalpel are that they cause less bleeding and cauterize the tissues as they cut, which means faster healing time.
If you’ve ever had a crown made, or had braces as a kid, you probably remember that sticky, icky putty-stuff you had to put into your mouth to create an impression of your teeth. Today, old-fashioned dental impression molds can be avoided with the use of an oral scanner. With a small pen-sized camera wand, we can scan the inside of the mouth to create a digital impression, which can be used to create a 3D model of your unique teeth.
Pinhole Technique Gum Surgery
In the past, patients who had lost gum tissue to gum disease (receding gums) could only have a gum graft to get back the tissue needed to support their teeth. This required day surgery and general anesthesia, and took weeks or even months to heal. Today, however, there is a technique and tool that allows us to pull healthy gum tissue down to cover and replace exposed tooth roots, without the need for surgery. The tool is inserted into the gum tissue via a small opening only the size of a pin, and no surgery is needed. With this technique, patients usually feel normal again in just a day or two.
You’ve likely heard of clear aligner “braces,” which can straighten teeth without the need for brackets and wires. Now that 3D printing is common, this type of braces has become even more accessible and their popularity is booming. More adults are now seeking orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth than ever before, all thanks to this innovative advance. Beyond the clear aligners, there’s a new device that has been engineered to speed up orthodontic treatment and encourage the teeth to move more quickly. The Acceledent device delivers vibrations that penetrate the bones and ligaments of the jaw and subsequently speed up movement and healing. In some cases, patients can wear their braces or aligners in half the time they would have needed in the past.
Get the Best Care and the Most Modern Technology
How can you and your family take advantage of the many technological advances in dentistry from recent years? Find a dentist who values progress and invests in the positive benefits of technology in his or her practice. To learn more about cutting-edge dental technology, visit the website of Dr. Carl Futenma at Creative Smiles in Vancouver, WA. If you live in this area, contact our office for a Vancouver, WA dentist who values technology as an important aspect of providing patients with the best care possible.
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