The future potential of the dental profession lies within advancements in technology. Similar to other healthcare professions, the field of dentistry evolves in line with breakthroughs in scientific understanding and technology. This constant evolution is broadening horizons, offering better dental solutions, and improving patient care.

So just how does technology affect dentistry?

Technology enables simplification of once-complex procedures, it provides superior and comfortable patient experiences, and it’s shaping how society interacts with the very definition of dental hygiene.

New technology in dentistry

A host of innovations in dental care have created avenues for easier access and lower costs of dentistry; all without the drills and injections.

The digital revolution is transforming how dentistry is being practiced today. New electronic record-keeping provides data analysis. This data analysis gives researchers access to high-quality digital information. This data analysis includes advanced digital imaging, ultrasonic mapping, and the potential for more precise diagnosis in the future.

This high-quality digital information will allow dental professionals to create a digital blueprint that provides great precision in dental analysis such as detecting cracks and caries too minuscule to sense with traditional x-rays.

Laser dentistry, Computer Assisted Design (CAD) technologies, air-abrasion, advanced dental implants, and even sedation dentistry are currently providing breakthroughs in dental care.

Laser dentistry has already been deployed and provides superior dental surgical procedures. Currently, lasers are replacing conventional, whining high-speed drills to treat tooth decay, gum disease, teeth whitening, and surgical biopsies.

Enhanced patient care

The adoption of technology in dental care is impacting patients by enhancing the patient experience, creating revolutionary treatment options and expanding the scope of procedures available for patients.

Whereas in the past, patients would be hesitant to visit the dentist or decline necessary procedures due to the prospect of painful treatment options, new technologies enable patients to be treated in less-invasive methods. This creates a tremendous advantage in patient care as more and more patients are now opting to undergo these procedures.

Refinements in digital imaging, new technological dental implants, and air-abrasion have also created a more comfortable patient experience. 3-D printing is now being employed in dental practices to replace caps, crowns, bridges, and cosmetic dentist veneers. Advances have gone even further, with the University of Groningen creating recipes that add “tooth decaying-fighting chemicals to 3-D printed teeth.”

New technological breakthroughs also mean shorter treatment times for patients. Advanced dental implants significantly reduce treatment times. Considerable advances mean implant placements are more precise, new bone growth is more predictable, and greater patient acceptance. This all assists in accelerated healing and more options for teeth restoration.

Improvements in dental hygiene education

Information technology is shaping higher education among dental patients. Innovative prevention is at an all-time high, with manufacturers designing and crafting toothbrushes that assist with in-home care. Gizmos like timers and apps, location tracking technology (for areas in your mouth not being brushed enough), and pressure sensors all improve oral health care and promote greater emphasis on preventative dental practices.

Future advances will allow initial scanning through mobile devices. This will open up the doors for democratizing dental care. The ability to quickly diagnose basic problems through basic imaging and other diagnostics provides everyone access to various degrees of dental care.

This includes those living in remote areas or regions with limited access to dental practices. Ultimately, this will lower costs, providing previously marginalized individuals affordable access to basic dental care.

There is no doubt that technology has positively impacted the field of dentistry. Today’s dental practice is a far cry from that a mere 10 years ago.

Dental research continues to evolve and advance in step with technology. The demand for new innovative solutions to dental care means the future is bright in oral hygiene. The field of dental research continues to push the envelope in how technological advancements can be used to create the most comfortable patient experience available. Current and emerging technologies enable complex procedures to be performed in more simplified and less-invasive terms.

With new capabilities comes state-of-the-art general practice levels and expands the scope of available procedures. The infusion of technology also improves the way individuals think about their dental hygiene, promoting better educational awareness and improvements in in-home dental hygiene care.

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Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.

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