Technological advances in the field of dentistry are changing the way dental professionals provide service to their patients. Laser technology, 3D printing, and digital scanning are allowing dentists to diagnose, treat, and perform procedures with better precision. Here are some of the latest technology developments making waves in the dental industry.
1. Robot-assisted surgery
Millions of people suffer from broken, lost, or diseased teeth. Dentists usually address these problems by placing surgical implants, often done through free-hand dental implant surgery. Free-hand implant surgery involves examining your gums, bone, and nearby teeth and then using hand-held dental instruments to set implants. However, it's prone to human error, which sometimes results in inaccurate implant placements.
Another common surgical technique is using surgical guides. These fit over your teeth and come with guide holes that let dentists set implants with more precision compared to free-hand surgery. However, dentists can't make changes to the guide during surgery, which can lead to delays. Despite being less invasive than free-hand surgery, surgical guides are not an ideal option for hard-to-reach areas.
A new alternative to these traditional surgical techniques is robot-assisted surgery. Yomi, developed by Neocis, is the first FDA-approved robot-assisted dental surgical instrument. It is designed to minimize or eliminate errors dentists can commit during surgery.
The process starts before a patient sits on the operating chair. The lead dentist and the surgical assistant plan the surgery using a 3D image of the patient's jaw. They program the exact position, depth, and angle of the implant into Yomi's system. Yomi then guides the dentist’s arm according to the pre-programmed plan. If the dentist moves the robotic arm even a fraction of a millimeter off from the plan, an auditory alarm goes off and Yomi puts resistance on the robotic arm.
Using a robotic device allows dentists to operate with more precision and accuracy compared to traditional techniques. Other benefits of using Yomi are:
- It eliminates the need for surgical guides.
- Surgery time is greatly reduced.
- Dentists can perform same-day surgeries.
- Surgical plans can be modified on the fly.
- It's less invasive.
- Recovery times are significantly reduced.
- It features an open platform that can be used with most CBCT scanners and implant systems.
2. Replacing traditional drills with lasers
Laser technology is also making dental work more efficient. Dentists are starting to use lasers dental procedures for:
- Removing tooth decay
- Preparing the enamel for a filling
- Removing small pieces of tissue for a biopsy
- Eliminating lesions in the mouth
- Re-contouring excessive gum tissue
In addition, lasers can effectively disinfect gaps between the teeth and gum tissue as well as infected periodontal pockets. Some soft tissue lasers can even promote bone growth around teeth with periodontal pockets, eliminating the need for patients to go through periodontal surgeries. Finally, lasers can also help whiten teeth and improve tooth and bone structure.
Despite their benefits, however, lasers can't be used to remove defective crowns or silver fillings. Also, lasers are not completely painless. Patients are still given anesthesia before undergoing laser surgery.
3. 3D imaging and printing
When a patient need dental implants such as bridges, crowns, and dentures, dentists take an impression of the patient’s mouth using a gooey substance called irreversible hydrocolloid. The problem with this technique is that it is very uncomfortable for the patient. They must open their mouths wide enough for an impression tray to fit in. This can be extremely painful, especially for people with temporomandibular disorders. Also, the mold can make patients gag.
Fortunately, 3D imaging and printing allow dental clinics to provide a more comfortable and painless alternative to taking dental impressions. With the introduction of intraoral scanners, dentists can now take 3D digital impressions of their patients' mouths. Compared to traditional impression molds, digital impressions are more accurate and rarely need to be repeated.
Dental clinics using computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing systems (CAD/CAM) are taking full advantage of this 3D imaging technology. With the help of 3D printers, dentists are able to create crowns, dentures, and bridges in their clinic rather than sending the digital impression out to a lab. With this technology, patients only have to wait around two hours to get their restorations instead of the usual two visits.
These latest trends in dental technology take patient care to the next level. But to take advantage of these new technologies, you need to partner with a reliable managed IT services provider like Pact-One. Our IT support services will ensure that your clinic is well-equipped to use these technological advances to provide better service to your patients. Call us now to learn more.