Emerging Technologies

Times are changing. The dental industry has evolved, meaning the way we work and serve our patients has to adapt to best serve their needs. Patients are becoming more informed about the technologies available to them through their dentist or hygienist. I’d go even further to say this influences their decision on which oral care professional they choose to see.

Digital impressions have eliminated patients going home with alginate on their face, neck and clothing.

Diagnosis can be made immediately while the patient is sitting in your chair by scrapping film and going digital.

Invisalign has revolutionized cosmetic dentistry eliminating the pain and headache of braces.

Here are the top 5 revolutionary technologies every practice should look into for keeping up with patient demand in this new technology driven market.

  1. Instant x-rays.  It’s been over 10 years that consumers have made the transition to digital for their imaging needs.  Dental practices are slightly behind as the purchase of x-ray film has seen a decrease but not substantially to eliminate production.  Owandy I-Max Touch 3D

    Digital panoramic x-rays, such as the Owandy I-Max Touch 3D, have modernized the industry allowing for instant diagnosis with high-resolution and 3D images.   Previously considered too bulky and extravagant, 3D imaging today is no longer reserved for an elite few. The 3D/2D I-Max has popularised this technology, making it a realistic option for everyone. 
     
  2. Straighten teeth with minimal hassle.  No more metal braces means patients get to benefit from easy cleaning, less food restrictions, and eliminating uncomfortable visits to the orthodontist for adjustments.  Align Technologies introduced Invisalign ® (invisible braces) to the US market in 1999 and over 2.4 million people have received this treatment worldwide.  
     
  3. Impressions made easy.  Many new technologies and products are requiring 3D representation of teeth, formally known as CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing).  This technology is used to improve the design and creation of dental restorations, especially dental prostheses, including crowns, crown lays, veneers, inlays and onlays, fixed bridges, dental implant restorations, dentures (removable or fixed), and orthodontic appliances. (Davidowitz)

    A dentist will use an intraoral scanner, like the 3Shape Trios, that will take a digital scan of the patient’s teeth, eliminating the use of impression material that can be messy and uncomfortable for the patient.  Intraoral scanners enhance the patient experience and allow dentists to expand their offerings while maximizing their return on investment with additional revenues via new treatment options.  

  4. Educational Imaging is for dentists, dental students, and patients! Futudent, based out of Finland, created a small HD camera that can be attached to your loupes, chair light or extendable arm that allows you to record and stream each dental visit.  Dentists are able to keep a digital video record of each procedure in patient files to be used for insurance purposes, recommending treatment, and mentoring dental students. Patients can also view their procedure live on a monitor in the operatory. Futudent

  5. No more needles!  Everyone knows someone who may be slightly fearful of their dentist, no matter how nice he or she is.  Administering anesthetic doesn’t seem to alleviate any of that patient anxiety.  New research on iontophoresis, best described as a procedure that introduces medical compounds into the body through the epidermis by applying a localized electric current, has proven successful in replacing the current method of administering anesthetic.

    “Needle-free administration could save costs, improve patient compliance, facilitate application and decrease the risks of intoxication and contamination,” explained study author Professor Renata Fonseca Vianna Lopez of the University of São Paulo. “This may facilitate access to more effective and safe dental treatments for thousands of people around the world.” (Dental Products Report)

References:

123Dentist.com (https://www.123dentist.com/top-10-new-technologies-in-dentistry/)

Dental Products Report (http://www.dentalproductsreport.com/dental/article/new-research-discovers-way-eliminate-needles-dental-anesthetic)

Davidowitz G, Kotick PG. (2011), "The use of CAD/CAM in dentistry.", Dent Clin North Am, 55 (3): 559–570, doi:10.1016/j.cden.2011.02.011.

3Shape (http://www.3shape.com/en/new-products/trios/intraoral-scanners)