It will probably come as no surprise to you to hear that dental technology has come a long way over the past few years. In our day and age, dental procedures that were once considered to be difficult are easy and even routine. Here are just a few examples of 21st century dental technology and the benefits it provides to patients and dentists alike:
- Laser dentistry – Lasers are now used by many dentists for a wide variety of procedures, from removing tumors to whitening teeth and much more. Lasers also make procedures like gum contouring a quick and relatively pain-free procedure than can be completed in a single trip to the dental office. Thanks to the laser, there is very little bleeding involved and the patient heals much quicker than with traditional methods used years ago.
- Oral cancer screening – In addition to a visual exam of the patient’s mouth, many dentists now utilize a VELscope to identify oral cancer in its earliest stages. The VELscope is a specially designed light that quickly detects any abnormalities inside a person’s mouth.
- Intraoral camera – Another great tool that has been developed for dentists recently is the intraoral camera. This tiny camera is mounted on a tool that easily fits inside the patient’s mouth, allowing the dentist much greater access and the ability to more easily detect problem areas.
- Digital X-rays – Although traditional X-rays are still used in many dental offices, digital X-rays are becoming increasingly common. There are several advantages to digital X-rays, including the fact that they can be viewed by the technician and the dentist in a matter of seconds; the results are stored on a computer and easily accessed for later comparisons by the dentist; and digital X-rays expose the patient to much less radiation than traditional X-rays.
- Invisalign® — For patients who want an alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign® is often an excellent choice. These clear plastic aligners are virtually invisible and can straighten a patient’s teeth in just a few months. Because the aligner trays can be removed by the patient when eating, there are no dietary restrictions with Invisalign®. These aligner trays also make it much easier to brush and floss than with traditional braces. Of course, Invisalign® may not be the right choice for everyone, so ask your dentist if they could work for you.
There’s no doubt how far dental technology has advanced over the past few years. Modern dentistry makes it easier than ever to detect and treat problems early on. Of course, you can only reap the benefits of this technology if you actually visit the dentist, so be sure to see yours twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams.