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Modern technology has revolutionized medicine, and the dental industry is no exception. Today’s dentists have access to innovative technologies that optimize patient care and satisfaction. Here are some of the most compelling and useful advancements you may be seeing at your local dentist’s office.
This technology allows dentists to do complex procedures in a single visit. If your dentist uses 3D printing technology, he or she will be able to use the device for crowns, inlays and onlays, bridges, implants, mouth guards, dentures and certain orthodontic appliances. Instead of having to wait days or weeks for a lab to construct critical components; it can all be done in-office using a 3D printer.
First, the dentist will scan your mouth using an intra-oral scanner, which creates a 3D image on the computer. The dentist can then digitally design the treatment and send the information to the 3D printer. In a matter of minutes or a couple of hours, the device can construct the necessary components according to precise specifications.
Commonly known as X-rays, radiographs are essential for most dental treatments because they allow dentists to better diagnose cavities, periodontal disease, root infections and other abnormalities. These days, more and more dentists are using digital X-rays, which take less time to process, expose patients to less radiation and yield high-resolution images that can easily be added to a patient’s digital health records. Not only does this save time for the patient and dentist; it results in a totally digital workflow that can streamline diagnosis and treatment.
Traditionally, dentists diagnose cavities using a dental explorer and bite-wing X-rays. Unfortunately, research has shown that these methods can miss some cavities in the pits and fissures of teeth. Using a DIAGNOdent pen, in conjunction with traditional methods, dentists are able to better detect cavities. The device emits laser fluorescence which enhances detection accuracy at earlier stages compared to traditional methods alone. It’s also minimally invasive and more precise at identifying proximal and pit-and-fissure cavities.
Biting, talking and chewing all require a complex system of bones, muscles, and ligaments. If even one of these components is off-balance, it can lead to various disorders, including:
- Tooth pain
- Gum disease
- Fractured teeth
- Broken restorations
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
Traditionally, dentists have used articulating paper to assess occlusion. This same paper is also used to determine whether new restorations are in proper occlusion with other dentition. Unfortunately, some research suggests that dentists sometimes have difficulty differentiating low and high occlusal force using only articulating paper marks.
TekScan provides an innovative solution to these issues. The device has a very thin sensor that is inserted into the mouth. Patients are asked to bite down on the sensor, which displays data via specialized software on a computer screen. Dentists can then view this data to detect biting time, bite force, occlusal interferences and occlusions related to TMJ disorder. TekScan can also help dentists identify what forces are likely causing trauma to the temporomandibular joint and more accurately diagnose and correct any bite issues.