Dentistry has come a long way in making patient check-ups more comfortable. With today’s technology, dentists are able to detect and treat decay and perform other procedures with maximum comfort. You might find that your dentist has added some of the relatively newer technologies the next time you visit the dentist. For instance, here are some of the tools available in modern dentistry.
Air abrasion is a conservative procedure dentists use to remove small areas of decay. Additionally, we use this to prepare a tooth for the placement of restorations or sealants. This procedure works by using an air compression device. This device delivers tiny particles of aluminum oxide to the surface of a tooth structure to blast away decay. To illustrate, picture sandblasting a building in order to clean it.
Air abrasion is good with early decay and helps to preserve tooth structure. Discomfort is at a minimal and many patients do not need any anesthesia. Children and adults who are fearful of needles, noise or the vibration of a regular dental hand piece may prefer this option if it is available. However, air abrasion is not an alternative for every procedure.
First developed in 1987, the intraoral camera is a wand-like device with a small magnifying lens. Firstly, this lens projects a picture from a patient’s mouth onto a screen. Secondly, the image is magnified up to 40 times its original size, allowing the dentist to see fractured enamel, gum recession, fracture lines in teeth, and breakdowns of restorations.
After these pictures are taken, dentists are better able to diagnose and recommend treatment plans for their patients. Also, patients can then use these to provide documentation for insurance companies.
Similar to traditional x-ray systems, digital radiography technology allows dentists to detect decay, bone loss, and help with root canals. First, dentists will place a sensor on the tooth. Once the picture is taken, dentists can adjust the contrast and brightness to optimize diagnosis and find even the smallest decay. The process is a little faster than a traditional x-ray system, so patients exposure to radiation is decreased. Additionally, a benefit of digital radiography is the reduction of chemicals to process the film. As a result, development time for photos is shorter and helps eliminates treatment disruptions.
As scientists complete more studies, we believe that lasers may be a better alternative to the traditional drill as anesthetic is not needed as often. Additionally, the procedure is more precise and can reduce symptoms and healing times associated with traditional therapies. Currently, dentists have the ability to use lasers for tooth whitening, removal of ulcers, periodontal (gum) therapy, cavity preparation and removal of the decay. In the future, laser technology may be a solution to prevent decay by increasing the strength of the tooth. To clarify, laser therapy is currently not an alternative for every procedure.