Recent innovations in modern dentistry
In the past few decades, every industry has experienced advances in science and technology, each surpassing the previous decade. Dentistry is one of those industry segments, with treatments and therapies that have advanced exponentially – everything from “passive” immunization for cavities to the introduction of new strains of bone and cartilage. Hard to believe, but today there’s even “artificial” saliva, something that has been specifically developed for dry mouth syndrome.
There has also been significant scientific progress in the dental-related sciences, with treatment approaches that address conditions like dental trauma and bruxism; jaw joint disorders (like TMD and TMJ); and general facial pain. Not to mention innovations in biotechnology, with new bio-ceramic products that are able to replace human enamel and dentin. Clearly, not all of these innovations are currently in use, or even available at the dentist’s office today, but they will be.
Laser treatment for decay and gum disease
Very much like a “laser beam”, laser therapy is a painless method for removing tooth decay. It’s not universal yet, but will also be used for removing diseased, or excessive, gum tissue. Studies are showing that laser treatment for periodontal disease provides similar results as traditional non-surgical therapies. Laser treatment, in various wavelengths has proven to be safe for various periodontal procedures. But like anything, professional expertise is key to successful treatment.
Computerized x-ray and imaging
Today, with advanced computer technology, x-ray images can be digitally stored, retrieved, and even transmitted with much greater ease. Images can be magnified for better viewing and, of course, shared with each patient for discussion. Images can either be stored or printed out. For the dental professional, digital x-rays allow for much better detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of oral conditions and diseases – and that includes the teeth, gums, jaw, and mouth.
Intra-oral computerized camera
Intra-oral cameras can be moved and manipulated throughout the mouth for viewing, and for taking photos. The photos can be viewed on a conventional computer screen, or can be saved on the computer for reference. An intraoral camera allows the dental team to view precise images of the mouth, teeth, and gums. The images can be enlarged, allowing for more accurate diagnosis. In fact, the dental team can see details that may have been overlooked during a traditional exam.
Beyond science and technology, regular care and maintenance is key to optimum oral health. Of course, prevention is vital for every patient. In most cases, dental appointments are advisable every four to six months, depending on individual need and any treatments that may be ongoing. Regardless of treatment, consistent oral examinations will ensure a preventive approach to oral health – and preventive maintenance can definitely pre-empt the potential of serious problems.
Like everything, dentistry is experiencing innovation at an exponential rate. There are new over-the-counter products; advanced state-of-the-art diagnostic tools; and new surgical techniques. But nothing can quite replace the expertise and experience of a qualified dental professional. It all has to work collaboratively, and in the end, patient care and well being must be the priority.