Technology Trends in the Dental Industry

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As technology around the world continues to advance, dentistry is becoming more efficient and precise than ever before. From diagnostics to treatment, dental practitioners are leveraging cutting-edge tools and software to improve patient outcomes and enhance the overall dental experience by minimizing discomfort and reducing anxiety and fear among children and adults as well. In this article, we will get through a few of the top tech trends in dentistry in which  practitioners need to be well oriented.

Digital Impressions

Digital impressions have risen to a new standard in dentistry and replaces traditional impression materials like Alginate and rubber base impression materials. Using a small wand-like device,  an intra-oral scanner captures images of the patient’s gums and teeth and creates a 3D model of the mouth. These impressions are accurate if the proper brand is used and the right capturing procedure is followed. The digital images can be used to create restorations such as crowns, bridges, and veneers. These impressions are also faster and far more comfortable for the patient making them a valuable addition to dental practices.

3D Printing

3D printing has made a significant impact on the dental industry and the way that practitioners approach patient care. “3D printing has revolutionized the customization of dental prosthetics, aligners, and implants. This technology allows for more accurate and personalized care because of the customization options,” shares California dentist Dr. Guneet Alag.  A few examples:

• Customized aligners, like the Invisalign aligner system, utilizes 3D printing software to create custom aligners for orthodontic treatment in patients.

• Prosthetic implants such as dental crowns and bridges are now more affordable and easier to create, thanks to 3D printing.

• Surgical guides based on a 3D model of the patient’s jaw are assisting in dental implant procedures to ensure precise placement of implants.

Digital Radiography

X-rays are still widely used in daily operations across the dental industry, but thanks to the advanced form of digital radiography, the slow and costly process of film x-rays are becoming a pain point of the past. Direct digital radiography quickly renders both intraoral and extraoral radiographic images and displays them on a screen where they are then stored in a digital file or uploaded to the cloud, making it much easier to disseminate and offer immediate feedback to the patient. 

Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

CBCT technology is a type of digital imaging that provides a 3D view of the patient’s mouth, including teeth, jawbone, and soft tissue. This is particularly useful for dental implants and allows practitioners to precisely place dental implants while avoiding injury of vital structures of the mouth like nerves, blood vessels, and maxillary sinus and nasal cavity. CBCT is also valuable for diagnosis of complex dental conditions such as oral tumors or impacted teeth.

Laser Dentistry

Laser dentistry is an advanced technique utilizing laser energy to treat a variety of dental conditions including tooth decay, gum, disease, and teeth whitening. Laser dentistry is considered a far more eco-friendly alternative to traditional dental procedures as it does not require the use of harsh chemicals or excessive water waste. These laser techniques are also less invasive and more precise than traditional techniques meaning less discomfort and quicker recovery for the patient.

Zirconia Crowns

In the past, dental crowns used to be made from metal,porcelain fused to metal, or porcelain jacket crowns. As each of the above-mentioned restorations has a certain drawback, they are being replaced by superior and non-metal alternatives such as zirconia and zirconia-based ceramics. These crowns are proven to be stronger and more durable and have unique advantages such as:

Superior strength properties to other ceramic restorations

Biocompatibility, meaning that the material is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and metal-free

Color matching ensures the crown blends naturally with the patient’s other teeth specially with translucent Zirconia

Intraoral Cameras

These small, handheld devices allow practitioners to capture high-resolution images of their patient’s mouths which can then be displayed on a monitor in real-time giving the patient a clear and detailed view of their dental condition. Intraoral cameras are particularly useful in educating patients on oral health and detecting early signs of dental issues.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The use of AI has become increasingly popular in dentistry, particularly in the field of diagnostics. AI algorithms can analyze large datasets of patient information using x-rays and medical history to identify patterns and predict future health conditions. Specific AI-powered imaging tools such as Pearl AI, Kavo Diagnodent, and Orca Dental AI, can be used to detect early signs of cavities and predict how a patient’s teeth may shift during orthodontic treatment. As AI technology continues to advance, these dental and orthodontic imaging tools will advance too, offering the best treatment outcomes.Additionally, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can automate many administrative tasks which frees up the time of practitioners so that they can focus on patient care.

Robotic Assistance

AI is currently laying the groundwork for dental robotics to perform functions such as filling cavities, and cleaning and extracting teeth. This year, the FDA gave permission for robotic assistance in a dental implant surgery during the preoperative and intraoperative phases by performing guided bone reduction of the mandible and maxilla. Robotic and navigational technology can be used to increase the success rate and decrease the risk involved in oral surgery thanks to its enhanced precision and consistency.

Digital Records and Charts

Many dental clinics still rely on outdated paper charts and filing documentation for their record keeping which can be messy and disorganized, not to mention incredibly time-consuming. Maintaining records digitally has become a superior and more efficient method thanks to the strengthened privacy and security of patient data, ease of disseminating information with the patient/ other clinics, and reduction in cost and time from an administrative standpoint. Maintaining comprehensive, accurate, and organized patient records is essential in providing top-notch dental care and appointment follow-up.

Many dental practitioners and clinics stay up-to-date with the latest technological trends and advances to ensure that they are providing a higher level of care and treatment to their patients while streamlining their practice operations. If you are a dental professional, be sure to keep an eye out on these emerging and advanced tech trends and consider how they might benefit your practice.