Right from the first human civilization, technology has been man’s best friend. It has gone through different stages, changing our world and the way we live in it. Technology is present in almost every area of human existence. Medical technology, for instance, has revolutionized the healthcare system around the world. Advances in medical technology have changed the way the majority of world population access and use healthcare.
Digital technology in the healthcare industry has brought so many positive changes. In the area of dentistry, for instance, many innovations have been recorded. From digital dentistry to smart toothbrush to teledentistry, we have seen so many advances that have shaped the global dental industry, as we know it. We also know that the future of dentistry is heavily dependent on digital technology. Health specialists are only required to keep up with the changes as the industry continues to experience positive changes. Embracing dental innovations will only make things easier for dentists and their patients.
Knowing that the future of dentistry depends on the advances in medical technology, there is a need to appreciate the dental innovations we have already, such as teeth aligners and bioprinting. We will briefly discuss these innovations directly:
Digital dentistry can be defined as the use of dental technologies or devices that incorporate digital or computer-controlled components in dental procedures in contrast to the use of mechanical or electrical tools alone. This is a broad concept that encompasses different applicable uses of technology in the dental industry. From typical applications like CAD/CAM and intraoral imagine to less-conceivable areas, many dental innovations fall within digital dentistry.
There are several advantages to adopting digital dentistry. Each area of digital dentistry and every innovation within the areas adds one or more benefits. The willingness of the specialists to take the changes determines the actual impact. Overall, the significant advantages include improved efficiency (in cost and time), improved accuracy (compared to previous methods), and high predictability of outcomes.
While many benefits can be derived from digital dentistry, there are few possible limitations. In most instances, the cost is the major limitation. Adoption of most of the dental innovations changing the global dental industry is hampered by the higher capital investment it requires. Though the return on investments is always significant, some dentists and clinics adopt slowly. Clinicians and their teams must also be willing to undergo further training to use the innovations properly and enjoy the accompanying benefits.
Aligners have been among the most popular dental care products in the last few decades. properly fitted and used the right way, aligners will help to straighten teeth, resulting in these custom-made mouthpieces slip over the teeth, helping to correct alignment issues. When revitalized, smile.
While the advantages of aligners and braces are well-known, some people did not embrace their uses at some point because they looked unattractive. Most wires and bracket braces are visible, making it difficult for most wearers to smile confidently. With invisible aligners, the problem is completely solved. They offer an aesthetic alternative to the conventional wire/bracket braces since they are barely visible. Their efficacies are not in question at all.
Although they are not used for all kinds of misalignment cases and complex bite problems, they work quite well in universal issues like overbite or overjet, crowded or widely spaced teeth, as well as crooked teeth. There are cases that the dentist will recommend the use of traditional orthodontics than invisible aligners.
Invisible aligners are of different types. Ceramic brackets have been popular for a long while, but now we have inside braces and clear aligners. Ceramic braces are very similar to metal braces, just that they have tooth-colored brackets and tooth-colored wires that are non-staining. Inside braces and clear aligners are even less noticeable. The innovative clear aligners are minimally invasive and resistant to clouding from wear. They are generally easier to use.
The word ‘smart’ is linked with most of the latest technological advances we have seen in the last few decades. We have smart devices like home and office appliances. Depending on how the rooms and different areas of the house are built and managed, we can have smart kitchens, smart bedrooms, and smart living rooms. In fact, we have smart homes that help us save space in the kitchen, living room and other rooms that are equipped with smart technologies everywhere.
Why not bring the smart way of living into dental care? Well, it has been done already. A smart toothbrush is a lot more than an electric-powered toothbrush. It offers every user the smart way to brush correctly. The best smart toothbrushes out there will help every user brush better and significantly improve overall oral hygiene. They have sensors that monitor how well and how often you brush your teeth correctly.
Smart toothbrushes are available for kids and adults. To kids who are just learning to brush, smart toothbrushes can make the learning process easier and more fun. The children will enjoy brushing as it will be part of their fun activities. Within linked apps, smart toothbrushes can offer kids games and other incentives.
Taking good care of the teeth can prevent several possible problems. In spite of that, the need to replace the teeth with a cap, crown, or bridge may arise. This is where bioprinting comes in. Computer-Assisted Design/Computer-Assisted Manufacture is still the prevalent technology when it comes to milling a tooth from a 3-D scan. Several promising pieces of research can turn things around even further.
3-D printing of teeth is just one area of bioprinting in dentistry that will help. A team of researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina successfully built a jawbone through bioprinting. It is believed that in the near future, dental surgeons will never have to remove bone from the skull or hip for restorative procedures. When it becomes straightforward to obtain bones and dental materials from 3-D bioprinting, most dental procedures will be faster, safer, and more predictable.
Innovations in bioprinting will also improve the quality of 3D printed teeth and dental materials. Researchers are trying to include tooth decay-fighting chemicals to bioprinted teeth. When such innovations become common and widely applicable, it will enhance dental care even further.
Teledentistry, an aspect of medical technology, has made dental care more accessible, more efficient, and most affordable for several people around the world. Visiting a dentist is not one of the things most people are willing to do as often as required. This is caused by a number of challenges that teledentistry has addressed.
The most notable advantage of teledentistry over traditional dentistry is the fact that it makes dental care available to people who have no dentist around them. It is especially beneficial to people who are willing but find it almost impossible to visit a dentist (people with disabilities, the elderly, and special needs persons). They can have a dental appointment from the comfort of their home and receive the best dental care from some of the best practicing dentists that are thousands of miles away.
Teledentistry is broad too. In its most basic form, it involves having an appointment with a dentist hosted over the internet through video chatting software. It can be used for diagnostic purposes as well as for complete dental service delivery. It also facilitates collaborative dental care, involving different dentists.
The global dental industry is changing rapidly, thanks to advances in medical technology. The future of dentistry is heavily dependent on the dental innovations discussed above and a few others. Being open to the possibilities and embracing the innovations is essential to make the future of dentistry even brighter. Health care specialists must be at the forefront of adopting these innovations and must do what they can to educate their patients properly about them.