We are amidst exciting times for the dental industry as a whole. Dental technology advancements have come in leaps and bounds in the last decade, and it seems the 2020s have a whole lot more in store.
We believe keeping up with the positive changes is the sign of a good medical practitioner. Here at South Florida Dental, we pride ourselves on making the most of modern technology to help our patients maintain the best possible oral health and the healthiest looking smiles.
Today, we want to offer you a sneak peek at some of the dental technology trends we anticipate will help our patients in the next decade.
The Importance of Convenience Only Increases
As we continue to strive for a better work-life balance today, our patients are busier than ever. Finding that delicate balance between personal and work responsibilities, taking care of ourselves, and enjoying life, it makes sense that most people value convenience. That includes visiting the dentist.
Online Dental Patient Portal Updates
There are a number of conveniences that dental professionals can already incorporate into their patient portals that will make everyone’s visits customized – and easier! Here are just a few:
- Online appointment selection and booking
- Insurance information upload and online paperwork submission options
- Payment planning and acceptance online
Video Chat Dental Visits
Have you heard of teledentistry? We only thought the days of house calls were over…except this decade when we say “call” we mean it quite literally!
Essentially, a dentist may dedicate a portion of their appointments to general exams via camera, over the internet. Then, if anything important is found, they can ask the patient to come to the office in person.
We envision scenarios in which teledentistry could aid in patients’ ability to maintain good oral health while dealing with other issues.
Video chat for dental appointments could prevent stress and pain for elderly or disabled patients. Even in cases where a patient is homebound due to severe phobia or some other ailment this technology could make dental health maintenance a new possibility.
Oral Digital Imaging to Replace Goopy Impressions
Soon the days of messy physical models may be over. Impressions have been important in the dental world for a long time. They allow dentists to fit appliances to teeth without the patient needing to sit through the process.
Actually taking physical impressions, however, can be uncomfortable and messy. In response, the advent of digital imaging technology may soon make this unnecessary.
How Oral Digital Imaging Works
Digital intraoral scanners are small devices that take pictures of the inside of the mouth. These scanners then build 3D models of the intraoral cavity and upload them to modeling programs. From there, the dentist can examine teeth for problems, design appliances, and create models, all without actually touching the teeth.
Positive Impacts on Your Dental Experience
This will also cut down waiting times. Once a digital model of a mouth is made, it can be sent to the dental lab immediately. That allows the lab to begin work sooner, and return appliances more quickly. Intraoral scans may cut wait times for restorations or appliances by up to a week.
The Growth of 3D Printing Expected to Expand into Dentistry
If digital models of your teeth aren’t enough, soon it may be possible to print entire dental crowns. 3D printing is the process of using precise machinery to turn digital models into real-world items.
With medical 3D printing technology, crowns can be fitted with incredible precision to the tooth. Handmade crowns can be tricky to fit perfectly to a tooth, but 3D models allow for the dentist to test them before they are ever printed.
3D printing also allows for never-before-seen customization possibilities for dentures. Anything from color to tooth shape can be chosen by the dentist.
This helps match dentures and bridges with the patient’s original teeth. By the end of the next decade, dentures might even be printable in a single piece, reducing both patient wait times and costs.
Laser Dentistry to Become Standard in Dental Practices
Lasers are becoming more prominent in every type of health care. Lasers are used to do everything from surgery to changing pigmentation in other fields.
In dentistry, lasers are becoming easier to use and more commonly applied. For example, lasers can be used to whiten teeth, sterilize root canals, and prepare teeth for fillings.
It is also possible to use lasers to treat tooth decay and hypersensitivity. Over the course of the next decade, as technology improves, it’s probable that lasers become even more common than they are today. They may even be used as a part of cleanings regularly.
Predicting the exact path technology will take is impossible. What we can do is extrapolate from modern trends that we believe will improve our patients’ lives when it comes to taking care of their teeth.
No matter what technology does, South Florida Dentistry is committed to using new advances to help our patients.