Beyond Drill and Fill: Exploring Revolutionary Dental Innovations in the Modern Dental Industry

Innovations In The Modern Dental Industry

Article At A Glance

  • Modern technology transforms dentistry through greater accuracy, efficiency, comfort, and access.
  • Innovations improve patient experience through reduced anxiety, better impressions and visuals, and promoting home care.
  • Technology integration in dental practices is accelerating and is shaped by virtual consultations and automation.
  • The future may bring nanotech, AI, telehealth, and bioprinting for advanced dentistry.

Remember when family dentists encouraged vigorous brushing to remove plaque and tartar buildup? As research began to contradict the value of this practice, dentists began warning against brushing too vigorously to prevent eroded enamel and gum recession. And that’s not the only new development changing dentistry’s future. 

Modern dental technology has provided dental care innovations left and right, with dentists continuously updating the way they’re keeping their patients’ smiles bright and healthy. Here are a few more ways teams like Affinity Dental are making changes.

The Evolving Landscape of Dental Care

Unlike electric cars and artificial intelligence, the dental sphere has maintained its cottage industry characteristics for some time. Certified specialists conduct most of the work manually, even the time-consuming, tedious jobs like creating molds and impressions. However, emerging technology in dentistry is changing things.

For example, due to the pandemic and new service organization models, many practices have evolved to include technological innovations in their dental care. Teledentistry is only one of these recent innovations, and the dentistry landscape could look quite different in a few years.

Additional Read: Efficiency And Convenience: Streamlining Dental Care With Virtual Consultations

Importance of Technology in Advancing Dentistry

What could advances in dental care combined with groundbreaking technology mean for dentists and their patients? The first major result will be very little downtime between patient visits and in the chair. Suppose you add in-office digital imaging, laser equipment, and 3D scanners. In that case, today’s dentists can now spend far less time gathering information and creating products and more time attending to each patient. 

Evolving technology also offers unprecedented comfort, convenience, and accuracy, which we’ll discuss below. 

Modern Dental Technology: A Game-Changer in Dentistry

Digital Imaging and Radiography

Some modern dental technology includes the advancement of machines dentists have already been using for years, like radiography. Digital imaging uses X-rays during routine checkups to examine your teeth and jaws. The electromagnetic radiation passes through your soft tissue, and the sensors capture and send images to a computer so the dentist can view cavities and bone loss.

Unlike traditional film X-rays, modern digital X-rays also use up to 90% less radiation and provide higher-resolution images that the dentist can enlarge.

CAD/CAM and 3D Printing in Prosthodontics

Office 3D printers mean you don’t have to wait hours for your temporary crown or bridge. After a dentist drills and cleans a hole in your teeth, CAD/CAM technology sends images to the system and prints a temporary product immediately. The dentist then installs the item to protect sensitive teeth until the lab completes the permanent fix.

These amazing printers create the following unique items:

  • Implants
  • Orthodontic models
  • Retainers
  • Aligners and more

It also reduces the time, labor, and errors within manual production. 

Laser Dentistry: Precise and Painless Procedures

Dental care innovations like lasers will replace scalers and other metal tools. Before, these tools could slip or dig too deep around your teeth. With lasers, the mild radiation technique reduces bleeding, discomfort, and pain!

Lasers are also more precise, so dentists extract damaged or diseased tissue from the gums or buildup from the teeth without harming healthy ones. Anesthesia may not be necessary, and the healing time is faster.

Robotics and Automation in Dental Surgery

Automation assists dentists with speed and accuracy, from cleanings and tooth preparations to dental implant surgery. Robotic dentistry offers mechanical arms with cameras and sensors that pinpoint the exact location of the concern and perform complex procedures safely, eliminating human error. 

Also, since this modern dental technology doesn’t demand downtime, dentists can help more patients without compromising their quality of care.

Advances in Dental Care: Improving Patient Experience

Virtual Reality for Anxiety and Pain Management

Speaking of anxiety, the future of dentistry hinges on making a patient’s chair time brief and comfortable. Since stress typically stems from hearing the scraping and shrieking of dental tools, virtual reality offers a phenomenal solution. After putting on the VR headset, the patient’s world instantly morphs into one more to their liking, calming their nerves. 

Digital Dentistry: Impression Scanning and Modeling

Dentists traditionally use a putty-like substance to replicate a patient’s teeth before altering their smile. They place it into U-shaped trays, squashing them into the upper and lower rows of teeth to create a mold. However, anyone who’s been through the process knows how unpleasant and messy it can be, especially when it triggers a gag reflex.

Modern dental technology offers a solution for digital impressions, replacing the gooey substance with a handheld scanner. The crisp teeth and gum images enhance dental restorations and keep things clean.

Intraoral Cameras and Patient Education

One problem in traditional dentistry is that a patient has to keep their mouth open for a long time, tiring the jaw and masticatory muscles and even causing sprains or TJD. Additionally, those with smaller mouths find it impossible to open wide enough. Thankfully, dental companies have begun to produce intraoral cameras handheld devices that utilize liquid lens technology (that mirrors the human eye). 

This non-invasive intraoral camera sends images to a monitor so the dentist can study all teeth without the patient opening up too wide or for too long.

Smart Toothbrushes and Home Dental Care Devices

Apart from the changes that dentists make in-office, innovations like smart toothbrushes apply to home dental care between checkups. These smart toothbrushes connect to a smart device to learn and monitor your oral healthcare habits. 

For instance, a smart electric toothbrush uses artificial intelligence to analyze brushing movements or provide real-time feedback with embedded sensors. They can also alert you to harmful habits and coach you on how to remedy them.

Integration of Technology in Dental Practices

Integrating technology into modern dental practices is happening slowly but steadily, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating virtual consultations and robotics that facilitate social distancing. 

Industry thought leaders say this is only the beginning of a new dental era. That means there’s a risk of dental specialists falling behind without upgrading to modern dental technology. To stay relevant, they must embrace the future and what the dental industry will look like in it.

Embracing The Future: How Technology Shapes the Dental Industry

Nanotechnology for Enhanced Oral Health

Nanotechnology mixes science and engineering to alter molecules and atoms at 100 millionth of a millimeter. In dentistry, this improves implants, composites, and other dental materials by using tiny filler products to build up instead of breaking down larger filler products to create a rough surface. Nanomedicine is also affecting medical applications to better treat and prevent diseases. 

Artificial Intelligence in Dental Diagnosis and Treatment

Since dentists only treat what they see, such as cavities or gum recession, artificial intelligence helps them by studying each patient’s CT scans, dental records, X-rays, family medical history, and other data to predict potential issues. AI also identifies illnesses like gum disease early and curates customized treatment options at lightning speed.

Teledentistry and Remote Patient Monitoring

Teledentistry is more than just a remote checkup to fit your busy schedule; it’s a new care avenue. For example, it allows nursing home patients and those with special needs or disabilities to see a dentist virtually. It’s also ideal for rural residents without dentists nearby. 

Teledentistry’s live virtual consultations can send photos and information via the platform. These digital advances in dental care are convenient for patients and provide much more cost-effective preventative measures.

Bioprinting and Regenerative Dentistry

From a young age, dentists warn us to care for our teeth to limit the need for prosthetics. However, the occasional tooth decay or other imperfection is sometimes inevitable, jeopardizing oral health. Still, what if the future of dentistry could include reversing irreversible effects? 

Regenerative dentistry’s self-healing qualities take decayed or diseased teeth and make them strong again. For instance, Nottingham and Harvard University researchers produced dental fillings with modern dental technology that revitalizes stem cells and encourages dentin growth. Karolinska Institutet researchers also study teeth cell types and layers, learning sensitivity causes and control. 

A Team With an Affinity for Your Well-Being!

Advancing technology in dentistry aims to make patients more comfortable and enhance their care. And Affinity Dental’s state-of-the-art dental facility and virtual consultations are leading the pack! Fill out our patient form to schedule an in-office or virtual consultation, or call 773-904-7079 to learn about modern dental technology in Chicago, Illinois.

About The Author