Modern dentistry is dynamic. Changes to improve patient comfort and quality of care are always being developed. The use of improved dental materials, modern delivery systems, lasers, computer-generated imaging and computer management software systems are just some of the changes.
In this column, I will answer questions on high-technology dentistry. Please direct inquiries to my website at www.cranska.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essential Technology For The Dental Office
I’m amazed with the evolution I have experienced in dentistry. I’ve seen unbelievable changes in my dental office and equipment in the time since I opened my first office in Cape St. Claire in 1980.
These are my top eight indispensable changes I’ve seen in my dental office since the 1980s began.
- Computers with practice management software networked through the office have interconnected the business office and all treatment areas. The results are improved patient services and better patient care.
- Digital sensors have eliminated the need for film. X-ray images appear immediately and are stored in the office computer system. The advantages of digital radiographs are less radiation exposure to produce the image, immediate graphics, and images can be printed or emailed to specialists or insurance carriers.
- Dentists use hard and soft tissue lasers to precisely and effectively treat gum disease, utilize alternative methods of oral surgery, and remove tooth decay and restorations. Numerous dental procedures from surgical to cosmetic are performed using lasers.
- The use of light-cured, tooth-colored composite or filled resin material. These materials require less tooth structure to be removed in preparation, resulting in a smaller filling. It is light-cured in seconds and adhered to the tooth cavity to prevent future leakage or new decay.
- Dentists need to work in a dark area (your mouth), so lighting is essential for treatment in the oral cavity. The use of magnifying loupes with rechargeable mini LED headlamps attached increase illumination of the magnified treatment area.
- Intra-oral cameras. Dentists now use intra-oral cameras to capture photographs of the mouth. These pictures can be captured and shown on a monitor, allowing blown-up views for diagnosis. Connecting these cameras to computers, we get pictures that can be labeled and stored in the patient’s permanent electronic record.
- A dental implant is a titanium metal post, surgically placed into your jawbone. The implant replaces the root of the missing tooth. A prosthesis is anchored to the implant. This can be a single implant crown (cap), multiple implants and crowns bridged together, or a multiple implant-borne denture.
- The revolution in mechanical instruments used in the mouth to deliver dentistry include air hand-pieces, electric hand-pieces and ultrasonic tooth scalers.
How will innovative technology bring about even better dentistry?