Modern medicine has come a long way from the primitive practices and procedures of the ancient world. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the branch of medicine known as dentistry. Practiced for as long as people have had toothaches, dentistry has its origins in prehistoric societies. But thanks to advances in knowledge over the past 9,000 years, dentistry has gone from brutal and barbaric to practically painless.
Much of these improvements center around the development of advanced forms of dental technology. Better yet, the advancement of dental science and tech continues to offer the world new and improved treatments and procedures.
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With this in mind, let’s take a look at six ways dental care is being transformed by technology:
Digital denture labs
Millions of people around the world rely on dentures for healthy living. Unfortunately, the traditional process of fitting patients with dentures is expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone without the right tools and experience. That’s changing thanks to the development of digital dental labs and technology. Dentists can now use an intraoral scanner to create a three-dimensional digital rendering of a patient’s mouth. This image is forwarded to denture technicians, who immediately convert the rendering into a fully functional set of false teeth.
The overall push for telemedicine is proving to be a game changer in terms of helping folks get the medical treatment they need. The same is true for dental work. Known as teledentistry, dentists are now able to do rudimentary examinations on patients located hundreds or even thousands of miles away. While most dental procedures remain outside the bounds of telehealth, remote examinations help reduce wait times, improve patient outcomes, and help folks get the pain management solutions they need in the days or weeks leading up to their actual appointment.
A big reason people hate visiting the dentist is having hands and tools wedged into their open mouths during the examination process. While modern dentistry does a terrific job of limiting pain and increasing comfort, the process is far from perfect. Thankfully, intraoral cameras equipped with liquid lens technology are enabling dentists to get an ant’s eye look at gums and teeth with minimal hassle for the patient. A pen-size camera on a bendable sleeve hooked to a monitor is all they need to see the fine details of a person’s mouth.
Smart electric toothbrush
You’re probably well aware of electric toothbrush technology. These ultrasonic devices have been around for decades. But you might not know about the latest generation of electric toothbrushes armed with smart technology. Smart toothbrushes help folks do a better job brushing their teeth by alerting them to unevenness in their routine. Soon, these devices will even be able to predict cavities and periodontal disease.
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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have successfully shown that microbots can be used for rudimentary dental cleaning. These nanoparticles work in unison to brush teeth surfaces and floss between teeth. While we still have a long way to go before dentists start using microbotics in everyday practice, these recent developments prove promising.
Short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat, CRISPR is a revolutionary genetic engineering technology. CRISPR is hailed as a potential path toward a cure for cancer, among other deadly diseases. As far as dentistry is concerned, CRISPR shows promise as a technique for preventing plaque formation. Over time, CRISPR may help greatly reduce the rate of periodontal disease in the general population.
Modern dentistry is a miracle of science and technology. As we move deeper into the 21st century, up-and-coming dental technologies will prove to be transformative in terms of global oral health.