Constant evolution has been experienced in the field of dentistry with significant changes being introduced to fully suit the needs of patients. The advancements in dental technology often offer better solutions for various oral health problems while making the practice of dentistry more durable, comfortable, natural-looking and efficient for patients. For instance, procedures that formerly required several trips to a dentist or a number of healthcare providers can now be executed by a single qualified provider and in one office. As such, the following paper looks at some of the emerging dental technologies which include dental implants, VELscope, Invisalign, CAD/CAM, Digital X-rays as well as Laser Dentistry while highlighting their impact on dentistry.
Starting with the dental implants technology, it involves effective screw-replacements for a missing tooth or teeth's root portion (Bin, 2015). The missing teeth could have been lost, damaged, infected or broken. In the past, the available tooth replacements options were typically noticeable as they stood out from the rest of the natural teeth, however, with the recent developments in teeth implants, a natural-looking solution that is permanent is now available. Before dental implants were introduced, broken, damaged, infected and lost teeth were replaced by uncomfortable alternatives that required high-maintenance (Kostrzewski, 2011). Also, it took patients a long time before getting used to the adopted tooth replacement option. Recently, dental implants have been considered to be among the leading dental technologies due to their function as tooth root replacements (Jamali, 2015). The implants are integrated with the patient's jaw bone and this can be done in anyone who needs a replacement of their missing teeth. Furthermore, this procedure's treatment time has been shortened significantly whereby a patient who has undergone a tooth extraction can get an implant immediately rather than waiting for a few months later, as was the case with the traditional procedures (Masri et al., 2015).
VELscope is also a key advancement in dental technology which falls under preventive dentistry. In this technology, a special type of light is utilized in the detection of abnormalities in a patient's mouth. Thus, it effectively helps in the identification of early forms of disease including cancer (Kostrzewski, 2011). VELscope allows dentists to offer patients oral cancer screening tests in an easier and more frequent manner. Consequently, the early disease detection ensures that the targeting of treatment is well done to achieve the right results, which helps in bringing down mortality rates. The examination done through this technology is not only quick but also comfortable for the patients as they can relax because it is painless (Jamali, 2015). Moreover, VELscope can be used as an oral cancer treatment follow up to guarantee normal cell activity (Masri et al., 2015).
Further, Invisalign is a dental technological development that helps in straightening a patient's teeth. It involves the use of invisible braces that gently straighten one's teeth hence providing a comfortable and effective way of straightening people's smile without having to wear heavy metal braces (Bin, 2015). In comparison with the traditional metal braces, Invisalign is practically invisible. The comfort aspect of this technology is based on the fact that Invisalign braces can easily be taken out for various reasons such as cleaning and do not have restrictions on the type of food to eat or refrain from. However, Invisalign can be costly depending on the manufacturer of the brace (Jamali, 2015).
Regarding the computer-assisted design (CAD) or computer-assisted manufacture (CAM), they are technologies used in several industries for the provision of a highly accurate design of materials and items to be constructed (Kostrzewski, 2011). Dental technicians are able to harness computer's power for the design and fabrication of durable and aesthetic dentures. These dental technologies have had a positive impact on dentistry by allowing dental restorations that have a close similarity to natural teeth. These technology types are used for porcelain veneers, inlays, crowns and dental bridges (Masri et al., 2015). Previously, the process of designing and manufacturing a complete denture was cumbersome and quite expensive while the end product never acquired a perfect look, however, with these dental technology advancements, multiple crowns can be produced within a short period of time (Kostrzewski, 2011).
Digital X-rays have also proved to be a significant advancement in the world of dentistry. This dental technology is said to be faster and exposes patients to less radiation compared to the traditional X-rays (Masri et al., 2015).When a digital X-ray is performed on a patient, it takes a few seconds for the image to appear on the computer. A sensor is used for capturing the dental images and is placed in the client's mouth from which it transforms the image onto the computer screen. For a better assessment, dentists zoom into the images and this allows them to offer appropriate education and advice regarding the client's oral health. Additionally, the digital X-rays contain a maximum of 90% less radiation in comparison with the traditional X-rays, hence they offer more comfort and are less harmful (Kostrzewski, 2011).
Finally, Laser Dentistry is another type of dental technology that has offered an alternative that is less invasive to numerous procedures. In this technology, improvement of efficiency and elimination of discomfort in various dental procedures is done using lasers. Some of the dental procedures utilizing this technology include whitening, tooth sensitivity reduction, cavity filling and elimination of tumors (Jamali, 2015). Laser dentistry is also used in the treatment of cold sores, decay removal, begin tumors, crown lengthening, tongue tie and nerve regeneration for nerves that are damaged (Masri et al., 2015). The technology has been described as fast and painless whereby the energy emitted from lasers gives rise to a shortened healing period that is almost painless. Moreover, it is said to successfully eliminate various bacteria forms during the dental procedures to evade the occurrence of further problems or complications (Bin, 2015).
In conclusion, as demonstrated herein, there are various emerging dental technologies that have resulted in massive improvements in the world of dentistry. Some of these technologies as discussed in this paper include dental implants, VELscope, Invisalign, CAD/CAM, Digital X-rays and Laser Dentistry. Also, it has been illustrated that both patients and dentists have significantly benefited from these dental technology advancements whereby there have been more efficient and reliable oral health care services. Further, with the use of such technologies dental procedures have been made quicker, less invasive and less painful. Some of the dental technologies such as VELscope help to pinpoint problems at early stages hence reducing the need for highly invasive and intensive dental work. Therefore, generally, speaking, dental technology has made visits to a dentist more efficient and comfortable while it is now possible for patients to achieve or reclaim a natural-looking smile. This is evidenced by the dental implants which effectively replace an individual's missing teeth hence giving them the look and feel of a natural tooth.
Bin, A. (2015). Recent Advances and Developments in Dental Technology. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.webhealthjournal.com/recent-advances-and-developments-in-dental-technology
Jamali, J. (2015). Clinical Applications of Digital Dental Technology. doi: 10.1002/9781119045564Kostrzewski, W. (2011). Popular Topics. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from http://www.acedentalresource.com/dental-procedures/dental-technology
Masri, R., & Driscoll, C. F. (Eds.). (2015). Clinical applications of digital dental technology. John Wiley & Sons.
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