When most people think about going to the dentist, they think of processes, exams and basic procedures that have not changed for years, decades even. Technology and advances in that technology are not common ideas associated with a general dentist visit for a cleaning, checkup, or even a filling. However, the rise of the digital age has made a difference in all facets of life, including areas of dentistry. Get to know some of the changes in dentistry that have come about in the digital age and how they can and will improve your experience at the dentist's office.
One of the most commonly used changes in general dentistry that has come about due to the development of digital technology is the use of digital x-rays. Digital x-ray technology has many benefits to patients as well as to the dentists who use them.
First and foremost, digital x-rays use less radiation than traditional x-ray technology. This makes digital x-rays far safer for the patients and the dentists administering them. Additionally, digital x-rays do not require patients to bite down on large metal mouthpieces. Instead small, unassuming digital probes are placed inside the mouth to take the images. And, of course, the images are ready to view on a computer immediately, making your trip to the dentist quicker.
CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) are technologies that are relatively new to dentistry. This is primarily used when teeth need to be repaired or replaced due to damage, poor health, or complete tooth loss.
The process begins with a series of digital images and x-rays of the patient's mouth and teeth. These images are uploaded into a computer and the dentists uses a computer-aided design program to create the new tooth (dental implant, dental cap, or other prostheses).
The patient can take a look at what their new tooth with look like and then the computer system can also help to create (manufacture) the new tooth. 3-D printers may be used to create the dental prostheses, or they can be sent digitally to the lab so that they can be rendered quickly. In fact, in some cases, a person can go in for such a tooth replacement or repair and get it that day rather than waiting a few weeks for them to be manufactured after the initial appointment.
Now that you know a few of the ways that dentistry has changed in the digital age, you can be sure to select a dentist that puts these newer technologies to proper use (click here for more info).