Dental technology breakthroughs
Dentistry has really progressed in its lengthy history — dating back more than 9,000 years!1 Today, emerging technologies are making access to dentists easier, reducing patient fear and stress, aiding with diagnoses and much more. Current trends and new products are also changing the way some people address their oral health.
Here are some important innovations that may give you reasons to smile.
Dental technology breakthroughs
Teledentistry expands access to care by providing virtual dental consulting and basic exams through video, phone or text. This can be particularly valuable during an emergency. And by offering more options for care, teledentistry can help reduce stress for patients who have difficulty traveling. Combined with mobile care, teledentistry increases accessible care for rural patients, nursing home residents and more.
Laser dentistry uses a laser in treatment process to cut, reshape or remove teeth or soft tissue. It can also be useful in early detection and prevention of dental issues like tooth decay. By eliminating the need for traditional drilling and, in some cases, a numbing shot, lasers can make for a more comfortable dental experience — especially for children. Lasers can also help with recovery time as their accuracy often decreases the need for stitches.
3D printing and computer-assisted design are now used to create dental implants, crowns, splints that act as mouth guards to prevent tooth grinding and models of the jaw that can be used to evaluate or plan treatments. The benefits? 3D printing offers faster treatments that can potentially save you time, stress and anxiety.
A smart dental implant that could extend the life of implants in the future is being explored. The tooth would generate its own electricity through chewing and brushing to rejuvenate its tissue.
Virtual or augmented reality headsets can be used to involve patients in an interactive, simulated world. This can help provide a relaxing distraction for people who experience anxiety and discomfort during dental procedures. Studies show that this distraction leads to a consistent decrease in patients’ perceived pain and anxiety. Virtual reality has been proven to be a more effective distraction than watching a movie or practicing deep breathing during dental work.2
Hypnosis may be useful as a safe alternative to traditional anesthesia during procedures for people with dental anxiety.3 However, more research is likely needed before hypnosis is widely accepted in treatment.
Oral health care trends
Many consumers and dentists have adopted more environmentally friendly oral health practices. For instance, some dentists are installing energy-efficient products, switching to more sustainable brands, recycling, reducing the use of aerosol products and more.
Some younger consumers in particular are seeking out all-natural oral health care products. Organic toothpaste, sustainable packaging, compostable toothbrush handles, dissolvable teeth whitening strips and biodegradable floss are among the products on the market.
Innovative brushing and flossing products can potentially make oral health care routines more interesting, including:
Chewable toothpaste (used with a wet toothbrush) and mouthwash tablets that often come in recyclable containers and replace traditional versions of these products
Sensor-based toothbrushes that connect to smartphones to time how long you’ve brushed, guide you to spots you’ve missed and let you know if you are brushing too hard
Flossing toothbrushes that combine brushing and flossing into one tool
If you try a new toothpaste product, make sure it contains tooth-strengthening fluoride, as some options may not include this vital ingredient.
Subscription boxes of oral health care products make it easy and convenient to get products delivered to your door regularly without repeat ordering. This can help you remember to change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months.
Before trying recent trends and technology in oral health, talk to your dentist or hygienist to see if any of these innovations can help you maintain a healthy smile. Also, ask for a pre-treatment estimate in case procedures are not covered by your dental plan.