Technology has become a staple in the dental field, from chair-side computers to digital x-rays. Here is a look at some of the most common types of technology used in dentistry:
Computers are used in basically every business. They allow for patient records to be stored and accessed electronically, as well as provide a platform for digital x-rays, images, and other diagnostic tools. In a dental clinic, they are used for all of these purposes and more. Computers also reduce the amount of paper needed for patient records, making an office run more efficiently.
Diagnostic imaging equipment
Dental offices have several types of diagnostic imaging systems that use x-rays, lasers, or ultrasound to view inside a person’s mouth. Dental x-rays have come a long way from traditional film x-rays. Digital x-rays provide instant images that can be enlarged and manipulated for a more accurate diagnosis. They also use up less radiation than traditional x-rays. This kind of technology is usually used before treatments like tooth implants and root canal procedures are done.
There are several different types of lasers used in dentistry including ultraviolet (UV) lasers, argon lasers, and diode lasers. Laser light is very precise and can be used for all kinds of purposes, including gum disease therapy, tissue removal, teeth whitening, and more. Lasers are also used in laser cavity detection which allows for very early detection of decay.
Digital sensors provide an alternative to the traditional bite-wing x-ray (which is called a periapical film). Digital sensors take advanced x-rays which provide more clear images than traditional films, allowing dental professionals to catch potential problems, like decay, much earlier.
Intraoral cameras are used to capture close-up images of teeth and gums to provide a better look at potential problems. They are used frequently in the early stages of dental treatments to determine whether or not they will be successful. These kinds of images are especially useful because they allow the dentist to look at problems that might normally go unnoticed, thus indicating future treatment needs before any damage has occurred.
Computer-aided design/computer-assisted manufacture (CAD/CAM)
Computer-aided design or CAD is used for making crowns, bridges, veneers, implants, and other prosthetics. A digital scanner takes an image of the teeth needing treatment and sends it to a computer that uses software to create an accurate mock-up of the treatment. This allows the dentist to make sure that what they designed is exactly what they want before it is made into a permanent restoration and also allows for several mock-ups before deciding on which one will work best for each person.
Computer-aided manufacturing or CAM is usually done in conjunction with CAD. While CAD allows for designing the restoration, CAM allows the dentist to produce it. Using an intraoral scanner, a digital image of the design is sent to special software that uses this image to cut away material from a wax-up model made of ultrafine gypsum. CAM reduces the amount of time it takes to make crowns, bridges, veneers, and other restorations by creating these models in about half the time that would normally be needed.
Online consultations and appointments
Some dental clinics allow people to chat online with a dentist. Some even offer video chat options so patients can see their dentist while they talk about what is going on in their mouths and how best to take care of them. Video conferencing also allows for immediate treatment for problems such as tooth pain or other issues that might need prompt attention. People no longer have to travel to the dental office for a consultation. They can simply talk to a dentist online and get their problem resolved in time for dinner that night.
Electronic medical records (EMR)
Most dental offices now use electronic medical records (EMR). Dental practices used to keep track of patient records on paper, but now most maintain their records on servers and use software to keep track of everything from treatment plans to payments. EMRs are more efficient because dental offices can store, access, update, and download information quickly using electronic scanners or the internet. This allows for faster service which saves time for both the patient and the dentist.
Dentistry is continuously changing and adapting to the new technology that emerges. As you can see, there are many different kinds of technology in dentistry today. Each piece has its own function which benefits patients by helping them get better treatment faster than before. We hope this article helped shed some light on how dental professionals use various technologies for more effective treatments!