Health

Dental Technology: 4 Unique Instruments for Better Oral Health

You have one complete set of natural adult teeth designed to last the rest of your life. Remarkable advances in dental technology offer more patients than ever before a chance to share a winning smile with the world, from infancy through their golden years. The day may soon arrive when every dental clinic around the world offers every man, woman, and child these same cutting-edge tools for better oral health. When brushing, flossing, and mouthwash alone is not enough to keep teeth and gums pristine, modern science has pointed the way toward early detection and treatment for conditions which would have once proven cosmetically and medically disastrous a century or more ago.

Laser Cavity Detection

The traditional “explorer” dentists that have long poked around inside your mouth while searching for cavities is on the cusp of obsolescence. Instead of depending on that sharp instrument to “stick” in a tooth before searching it for decay, many clinics now employ a diode laser’s unique wavelength as a guide for detecting, monitoring, and eliminating cavities. Unlike healthy teeth, decayed chompers glow proportionately brighter as decay advances. Changes in display readings from one visit to the next can help dentists quickly diagnose issues and recommend timely treatment. Diode lasers have not replaced actual bitewing X-rays, as that particular time-tested imaging process highlights decay inside and between teeth that other methods do not display as effectively. However, when combining these two tools, cavities have fewer and fewer places to hide.

Improved Filling and Bonding Products

Once upon a time, dentists relied on synthetic amalgams to repair chipped teeth. As recent years have associated these materials with long-term risks of mercury exposure, the dental community has rethought its options and turned increasingly toward more natural-looking porcelain or composite fillings designed to blend in seamlessly with surrounding teeth. Meanwhile, improved resin formulas available in a broad range of shades have added enhanced durability and enduring shine to bonded prosthetics, some of which would have stuck out conspicuously if adhered with now-outdated substances. Form and function are now more integrated than ever.

Breakthrough Gum Disease Treatments

If nothing else, regular dental exams are essential for preventing gum disease from advancing past the point of no return. When bacteria invade and fester inside pockets formed in the gums where the bone and supporting tissue around teeth have loosened, tooth loss can occur as the jaw loses its structural integrity and gums deteriorate. For past generations, such damage was irreversible. Today, treatment options such as meticulously cleaning root surfaces to wipe out plaque and tartar and intensive gum surgery can turn gum disease’s tide by significantly reducing troublesome pockets and directly extracting bacteria. Further innovations have even introduced lasers, bone grafts, membranes, and unique proteins to stimulate regeneration of lost tissue and bone. This is nothing short of a new lease on ideal oral health.

Better Dental Care Made More Accessible

Finally, we must touch upon possibly the most important underlying motivation behind all dental care advancements: make the most promising treatment options as accessible and efficient as possible. In this instance, computer-assisted design (CAD) and computer-assisted manufacturing (CAM) are two such assets responsible for shifting how dentists repair and maintain their patients’ teeth. Instead of fashioning a temporary crown from a mold of the patient’s teeth while a dental laboratory crafts a permanent prosthetic, CAD/CAM tools allow the dentist to take a digital picture of a damaged tooth while drilling it in preparation for a crown. That image is then used by a machine to create the crown right there in the office. Without waiting for technicians to finish a crown or bridge, dental professionals can now complete restorative procedures in far fewer office visits and at dramatically less expense to the patient.

When all is said and done, it isn’t enough to simply propel dental technology forward. Progress must further the cause of a world where no individual cannot afford healthy teeth and gums. A radiant smile should never be a luxury expense or pipe dream.

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Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber

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