Medical technology has come a long way, and dental professionals have been reaping the benefits of the latest tools for their practice. As technology continues to evolve, so will the devices dentists use to improve the overall patient experience.
This year is an exciting one for dental practitioners because the latest tech disruptions are making their way to the area of dentistry. While it takes time before these tools will become a part of dentists’ arsenal, we can already see their potential in transforming clinics and improving patients’ oral health. Let’s look at a few of these technological innovations that are making an impact in 2022:
Wearable Technology for Clinical Staff
When it comes to managing a dental clinic, practitioners and their in-house staff know how complex it could get. Apart from managing schedules, they also need to manage purchase orders, send out appointment reminders, and keep accurate insurance records. An effective way to ensure cohesion would involve integrating wearable technology with existing dental practice management software.
The Global Innovation Center of Henry Schein, Inc. is making this possible through the Simplifeye app. Being the first of its kind to bring dental practitioners and their staff closer together, the app works seamlessly with wearables like Apple watches and helps simplify core activities. It also gives immediate access to patient records and provides staff with an easier way to manage queues, reschedule appointments, and make effective clinical decisions.
Whether you are a pediatric dentist in Ontario like KitchenerFamilyDentist.com or an orthodontist in Tampa, using smartwatches can help keep everyone at the clinic informed throughout the day and provide personalized service to patients.
Using Teledentistry for Patient Outreach
Since 2020, healthcare providers have been looking for ways to engage patients with mobility issues and pre-existing conditions. By offering telehealth services, they have been able to conduct consultations and monitor their patients’ conditions remotely. The dental sector is also doubling down on this innovation as practitioners can diagnose oral health issues and give advice without the need for patients to be physically present.
This is accomplished through teleconferencing or through a special platform or an online portal that lets patients schedule appointments, contact their dentists, make payments, and send details about their current oral health situation. This allows for better retention, especially among immunocompromised patients who are too old or too frail to visit a clinic.
3D Printing and Augmented Reality
One of the most exciting developments to look forward to is the use of augmented reality and 3D printing for diagnosing and treating dental issues. With AR, dentists can provide patients with an accurate visualization of what they look like after a reconstructive procedure. Incorporating AR technology can help build patient rapport and fast-track decisions.
Along with AR, dentists can also use 3D printing to make reconstructive procedures faster and easier. For instance, once the patient decides to get a crown after seeing an AR visualization, the dentist can then scan the site for the crown using CAD software and transmit the information to a 3D printer. This decision then uses Zirconia to produce the crown in the exact dimensions. Through AR and 3D printing, dentists can streamline restorative procedures that have little to no room for error.
Applying nanotechnology in the dental clinic
While undergoing refinement, nanotechnology holds much promise for the dental industry. This involves the use of devices and materials no smaller than 999 nm for diagnosing and treating dental issues. The list of applications is broad, but dental clinics are looking toward using nanotechnology as a preventive solution to cavities and tooth decay.
Using nanomaterials, dental professionals can replace dental tissues with new ones that replicate their natural properties. The materials are made from resins to form nanocomposites that can fill in cavities and restore a damaged tooth. While this approach is subject to further research, it offers the dental industry a novel way to improve restorative services.
Apart from restoring smiles, nanotechnology can also be used to apply anesthetics safely. This approach is known as nano-anesthesia and it has been used in many medical applications for some time. In dentistry, the technology involves using microscopic dental robots to access the pulp of a damaged tooth and shut down sensations by taking control of the nerve-impulse traffic. This results in a painless and anxiety-free experience, especially among patients who need to undergo a major dental operation. Once the procedure is completed, the nanorobots restore the sensations without causing any adverse effects.
There’s a lot we can expect from nanotechnology in the years to come. Right now, its potential to aid in diagnostic and restorative efforts would become commonplace as nanorobotics improves.
Another disruptive technology that’s adding value to dental practices is CRISPR. This unique method involves identifying DNA sequences that cause certain oral ailments and disorders. CRISPR uses a sophisticated method of editing genomes to deliver preventative oral care.
For some time, researchers have highlighted CRISPR’s potential for preventing or eliminating hereditary diseases. Conditions such as ALS and Huntington’s disease are just some of the problems that CRISPR scientists are looking to treat through this technology. In the dental industry, on the other hand, experts are also interested in knowing how CRISPR can help prevent oral cancers. By altering a patient’s genetic code, scientists hope to improve the patient’s response to cancer cells and decrease the onset of mutations.
CRISPR technology can also help treat hereditary periodontal diseases and the formation of plaque. This would involve altering the behavior of oral bacteria in a way that inhibits their spread. In effect, this will stop bacterial infection in its tracks and enhance periodontal protections.
While there are ethical issues to consider in applying CRISPR as a preventative dental solution, this technology can do more than just help patients improve their oral health. It can also prevent life-threatening diseases from taking place.
There’s a lot more for dental clinics to expect this year and beyond, but the devices and developments we have seen so far are already making bringing the practice to another level.