Learn more about the technological advances in dentistry from Safco’s latest blog.
Technologies Shaping the Future of Dentistry
The latest dental technology can improve patient experience, provide faster results and increase the dentist’s ability to detect dental problems. A dental practitioner’s ability to use new tools and techniques will improve patient comfort and improve oral health outcomes.
When a patient brushes with a smart toothbrush, the unit uses a built-in 3D sensor to collect and analyze data. The data includes information on brushing accuracy, duration, and frequency. Smart toothbrushes can also detect position and orientation across brushing surfaces. A few of the best smart toothbrushes include:
- Oral-B iO Series 10 toothbrush
- Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige toothbrush
- Willo Essential Kit Kids’ toothbrushing robot
- Colgate hum smart electric toothbrush
- Ordo Sonic+ Electric Toothbrush
- Oral-B GENIUS X 10000
- Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9300 smart toothbrush
Studies show adopting a smart toothbrush can help improve oral care!
Augmented reality allows dental professionals to view a three-dimensional model while performing procedures and can help to reduce errors caused by glancing back and forth between the patient and the screen. Although using AR technology to guide procedures is new, it’s thought that AR can significantly increase workflow efficiency.
Augmented reality is often used to show a patient how their teeth will look post-procedure. Additional benefits of AI for dental professionals include:
- AI visualizations make complex treatments easier to explain to patients
- Improve communication between the dental practitioner and the lab
- Avoid misunderstandings or disagreements with patients
- Become known as a cutting-edge innovative practice in your area
In addition, AR technology can be used to enhance dental education; allowing dental students to accurately see what a procedure will look like before working on a patient.
CRISPR (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a gene-editing tool currently used in biomedical research. CRISPR is thought to correct genome errors and turn on and off genes in cells. Researchers have used CRISPR to create new therapies to battle systemic diseases. Although the technology is new, it has the potential to:
- Provide a new treatment for oral cancer
- Inhibit plaque formation
- Reduce or eliminate tooth decay and periodontal disease
Although CRISPR is in the beginning stages, it has several potential uses in dentistry.
Regenerative dentistry includes using tissue engineering to regenerate soft and hard tissues. It is used to improve, restore and maintain oral tissues. Scientists have created a 3D model using human dental stem cells from a dental follicle. The 3D model then grows more dental stem cells which are used to restore teeth.
Some scientists focus on regenerating dental tissues such as enamel, dentine, or pulp tissue. Imagine a future when a whole tooth could be regenerated and replaced! Soon, stem cell-based therapies may be used to treat dental diseases.
It may be possible for scientists to extract dental stem cells from removed or lost teeth and preserve the cells while preserving their ability to regenerate.
Virtual reality in dentistry
For patients who are afraid to visit the dentist, virtual reality headsets can provide a welcome distraction. VR is thought to decrease anxiety and stress and the perception of pain.
VR headsets designed for dentistry usually feature viewing glasses with an adjustable strap that fits behind the patient’s head. The headset is designed to avoid interfering with the dentist’s workspace.
The patient views calming imagery such as a beach or mountain scene to shift the patient’s awareness which can reduce fears and the perception of pain. Patients will be more comfortable allowing the dentist to perform procedures more efficiently.
Additional benefits of VR include:
- Change the patient’s perception of time – procedures seem to take less time with VR.
- Dental professionals may be able to use less nitrous oxide during procedures as the immersive sensation of VR provides a level of drug-free sedation.
Adding virtual reality to your practice allows you to make patients more comfortable and reduce stress levels. VR can also minimize the potential for opioid addiction in patients and reduce chair time for the doctor. VR can help your practice stand out as a modern, innovative office.
AI-Assisted 3D printing
In the past, models had to be made from alginate impressions and cast in plaster, which could be costly. Now dental professionals can make high-resolution 3D-printed teeth models in-house for a fraction of the price. Dentists often create reference models to help patients understand upcoming treatment procedures and surgeries.
3D printers integrate with intraoral scanners and dental software to offer predictable results that provide a perfect fit in less time than traditional methods. Additional benefits of 3D printing include:
- Improving surgical planning
- Improve patient comfort
- Speed up recovery time
- Produce customized, patient-specific models and oral fixtures in fine detail, improving outcomes.
Intra-oral cameras (IOC) work with your imaging software to create clear, diagnostic-quality images. IOC systems usually include a video display, a processing unit, and a hand-held intra-oral camera. Intra-oral cameras have sensors in the handpiece that convert light to an electronic signal. The signal is processed by the imaging software and displayed on the monitor. Captured images are stored in the built-in memory, the computer, or cloud-based storage.
Cordless IOCs can transmit and display images in real-time using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Intra-oral cameras are proven to be an effective education tool for patients. The dental professional can show the patient a photo or a video of their current oral condition to demonstrate oral health and encourage good oral hygiene.
The bright future of dental medicine
New and innovative digital technology is the future of dentistry and now is the best time to join the trend. Using the latest techniques with the aid of digital technology can help dental professionals reduce patient anxiety, minimize pain, boost appointments, and help dental professionals be perceived as innovators in dentistry.
At Safco Dental Supply, we provide high-quality dental supplies to support your practice. Contact us today to speak to a dental representative about how you can streamline your dental orders.