Have you stepped inside a dentist's office lately? What you find might surprise you. It's not just the flat screen televisions in the waiting room and above the chair (though they are perks you can now find in
many practices). Serious advances have made examinations and treatments more accurate, efficient and less painful than what you may recall.
From laser scans to in-office production of your tooth replacement, cutting edge technology is transforming dental care — and your oral health stands to benefit.
Traditional Procedures Get Digitized
More and more dentists are embracing digital X-rays compared to film-based radiographs, and it's easy to understand why: reduced radiation levels up to 90%, images rendered almost immediately, and computer viewing and storage help dentists make diagnoses and comparisons in a matter of clicks.
The cavity search with a steel hook that typically follows X-rays now has a high-tech alternative as well. Dentists are starting to use "diode" lasers instead, which are far more accurate and much less uncomfortable. Cavity detection happens in a series of sweeps, and won't leave you in agony.
Materials are of Much Higher Quality
Once your treatment plan is under way, you'll soon come to find that even the materials being used are of much higher quality. Dental implants previously known for high failure rates are now straightforward and long lasting, involving a titanium screw that gets inserted into the jaw. Veneers feel more seamless thanks to an improved shell that requires less reshaping, and they are thinner, yet sturdy. And repairs to cracked or broken teeth look more natural due to better bonding solutions and techniques.
Through the use of computer-assisted design and manufacture technology (respectively known as "CAD" and "CAM"), some dentists are going one step further by making materials instead of ordering them. Rather than waiting weeks on end for your custom crown to arrive, in-office equipment makes it possible to have your replacement tooth much faster.
Cosmetic Work Gets a Natural Makeover
Perhaps some of the more noticeable transformations have occurred in the cosmetic field of work. New and improved options are available to help patients perfect that smile like never before. Fillings, which were previously easy to spot due to their dark metallic color, now come in porcelain or shades designed to match your tooth color. Teeth whitening treatments have become much more efficient, and can make your smile up to ten shades brighter in as little as an hour. Even braces have a much more appealing look, with an "invisible" or clear design that is growing in popularity.
Experience the Changes Yourself
As with any industry, adopting new technologies and procedures takes time and varies by dentist. If a previous experience has deterred you from getting regular care, you may want to research other local options and/or give your current dentist a call to learn about what you can expect today. Your oral health is on the line, and the world of dentistry has changed for the better.