Emerging Digital Technologies to Watch For at Your Dentist’s Office

Technology merely for technology’s sake can be a waste of time, effort and money. Technology that makes dentistry more effective, efficient, comfortable or safe, though, is an entirely different story. Those are innovations that can change the lives of patients. Your dentist in Maple Ridge is interested in — and constantly on the lookout for — innovations that they can leverage for the benefit of your health.

As is the case in many areas of the economy and our daily lives, constant discoveries and innovations in digital technology in Maple Ridge promise to deliver real-life benefits for patients. Here are several innovations to watch for at the office of a dentist near you.

Digital dentures

The same computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM) technology that allows many dentists to provide same-day crowns by milling ceramic in their office while patients wait will also change the way dentures are crafted. Dentures can now be milled from discs of raw material much more quickly and in many fewer steps.

Augmented or virtual reality

If you’ve heard the phrase “augmented reality,” it’s likely been in the context of video games. When augmented or virtual digital technology is applied in medical or dental environments, though, it allows a dentist to literally explore the tiniest areas and surfaces of your mouth, teeth and gums via computer-generated images. This type of developing digital technology near you is likely to show up in dentist’s offices and in dental schools where the next generation of dentists is educated and trained.

3D printing and Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP)

Three-dimensional printing is not new, per se, but its application to dental treatment is still being explored and developed. It’s a tool that allows dentists and technicians to “print” dentures and other restorations and prosthetics in their own offices precisely for patients based on digitally collected information. Early iterations of 3D printing were slow and had some practical challenges regarding replenishing materials, repositioning, etc. The development of multi-nozzle 3D printing, though, promises to eliminate some of those practical and and efficiency challenges while allowing printing with multiple materials in a single product. CLIP — that almost seems to grow an object out of a liquid bath — promises to be a faster alternative to traditional (can we really say “traditional”?) 3D printing.

Mirror + Camera = Intra-Oral Camera

Dental hygienists and dentists have used handheld mirrors for generations. Exploring your mouth with the mirror was effective, but not always comfortable for the patient whose lips and cheeks were sometimes pulled and stretched about. By adding a tiny digital camera to that mirror, though, your dentist can collect images of your mouth in real time that can be saved and examined closely (and compared to others) whenever required.

Smart toothbrushes

So far, the innovations we’ve been talking about have been focused on your dentist’s office. How about one that might affect your dental hygiene habits at home? Brushing your teeth seems like an easy thing, but it has its nuances related to pressure, length of time, etc. A “smart” toothbrush with features for kids, teens and adults alike can help track the time spent brushing, the pressure imposed on your teeth, and help to develop good habits through games and challenges.

Some of these innovations have already made their way into dental practices near you. Others are subject to ongoing testing, training and constant learning to learn the best way to use them for your benefit. If you ever have questions about how a particular piece of technology will affect you or change your experience of treatment, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist and their staff.

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