How Technology Makes Us Better Dentists
Dentistry has been around for thousands of years. In fact, the first mention of dentistry dates back to 5000 BCE, when ancient Sumerian texts attributed tooth decay to “tooth worms.” Advances in dental technology didn’t prove that theory wrong until the late 1700s!
Dentistry has made many important advancements in the past 7,000 years. Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about treating decaying teeth and gum disease, using wires to stabilize teeth, extracting (pulling) teeth, and other forms of dentistry. Other advances in dental technology made it possible to treat toothaches, heal jaw fractures, fill cavities, and make dentures. Each of these technological advancements improved the care that dentists provided to their patients.
Ways Technology Improves the Dental Care You Receive
Today’s dental care is more comfortable than ever before
Advances in technology have made dentistry more comfortable. In 1904, dentists started administering Novocain to numb the treatment area – patients appreciated undergoing cavity repair and other dental work without pain! Patients also welcomed the discovery of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, in 1844. Nitrous oxide improved dentistry because it helped anxious and fearful patients relax and get the dental care they need.
Nitrous oxide is still in use today, but our dentist can now offer a wider variety of options for reducing pain and easing anxiety. These options include oral sedatives in pill or liquid form, and intravenous (IV) sedation in which the dentist administers sedatives through a needle in the patient’s arm.
Advancements in dental tools also helps patients remain calm and pain-free during their visit. Today’s dentist can now use “drill-less drills” to remove cavities and clean the surface of their patient’s teeth. Laser dentistry gives dentists a non-invasive method of removing infected tissue, eliminate bacteria, and reduce the appearance of a “gummy” smile.
Technology helps your dentist see your teeth clearly, which makes it easier for your dentist to create an effective treatment plan. The problem is that teeth can be difficult to see, especially those teeth at the back of the mouth. What’s more, many dental problems occur below the gumline, where they cannot be seen with the naked eye at all.
Dr. Otto Walkhoff made the first dental x-ray in 1895, just 14 days after the man who discovered x-rays published his findings. Being able to create an image of the teeth, roots and jawbone revolutionized dentistry, as it allowed dentists to see the hidden causes of a patient’s dental problem; this made treatment more effective. Still, there were problems: x-rays took time to develop, and they exposed patients to ionizing radiation that could cause cancer and other conditions.
Today’s dentists use digital x-rays, which are much faster than traditional x-rays and expose patients to less radiation. The dentist sees the images on a computer screen rather than on x-ray film. You can even see the images right away.
Technology has improved imaging in other ways too. Intraoral cameras help dentists see details of a patient’s teeth and oral cavity without using an x-ray, for example. Computed tomography (CT) scans create images dentists can use to accurately plan and precisely place dental implants.
Better diagnostic technologies
Dentists can now get a more accurate diagnosis by using artificial intelligence (AI) to compare an individual patient’s dental images with millions of similar images. AI helps dentists detect dental problems that traditional methods may miss.
Technology helps speed healing. Dentists use technically-advanced air purifiers that remove 99.998 percent of bacteria, viruses, and pollutants from the air, thereby stopping infections before they start.
Dentists can now use technologies like Leukocyte Platelet Rich Fibrin therapy (L-PRF™) to help speed healing. This technology places a concentrated form of the patient’s own blood and platelets on the dental surgical site to speed the healing process.
Technology makes dental care more convenient. Instead of calling for an appointment, for example, you can make an appointment using an online form.
Convenience from technology comes in other forms too. Gone are the days of hand-writing progress notes in patient charts, for example, as hands-free charting allows dentists and dental hygienists to chart your progress simply by speaking. This helps dental professionals focus on what’s important – their patients.
Advancements in technology also allows dentists to create many oral appliances, such as dentures, crowns, mouth guards, bleaching guards, night guards and bridges, in their own offices. For decades, dentists had to make molds of their patients’ mouths then send these impressions to a dental laboratory, where technicians may take weeks to create the appliances and send them back. Today, our dentist in Mentor OH can use 3D printers to create custom-made products for each of their patients on-site, without the wait.
For more information on how technology helps improve your dental care, consult with Great Lakes Dental. Our dentists use the latest technology to provide you with the best dental care possible – but we always maintain our down-to-earth friendly approach to providing personalized and compassionate care. Contact Great Lakes Dental today by calling 440.255.3111 or schedule an appointment by filling out our online form.