Fabulous toys to future-proof Dentists.
“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations.” ― Yuval Noah Harari.
Technology and gadgets have become indispensable in our daily lives.
Humans now have an insatiable appetite for information and speed at their fingertips.
There is something delightful about achieving impeccable details in the blink of an eye. This hunger to accomplish the best, in a way that is faster, safer and more precise has led to the creation of some ground breaking inventions that will revolutionise oral healthcare.
In this article we will be taking a look at some exquisite toys that can spice up a dental practice. Some of which most of us are already familiar with while for the rest, we earnestly wait for them to hit our market.
1. CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/ Computer Aided Manufacturing)
There is a new favourite on the block. What is this new gadget that dentists cannot stop gushing about? It is the CAD/CAM technology. It has got everyone going gaga over, for all the right reasons.
CAD/CAM technology allows the fabrication of laboratory-grade crowns and other dental prostheses in minutes. It is a stunning innovation when you consider that traditionally, crowns take 2-3 visits and just as many weeks of waiting. CAD/CAM allows the delivery of well-fitted, aesthetic and durable prostheses with an increased convenience for the designing as well as the fabrication process. It typically creates the prosthesis on the same day and does so by using an intraoral scanner to take a virtual impression which results in a computer generated model on which the prosthesis is designed.
The computer’s digital design is transferred to a milling machine that carves the prosthesis from a ceramic block in about 5 minutes. This means that the patient walks out with the final prosthesis on the same day.
We say it is worth all the pomp, the show and the splendour.
2. Portable X-Ray Machines
The field of radiology wasn’t spared from the wave of technological revolution in dentistry. This revolution has led to the miniaturisation of devices, the product of which is the portable or hand held x-ray machine.
Availability of conventional radiography units are limited in remote areas. Portable devices help provide the service in remote areas and by an extension help in providing services at the Community level as they can be carried around easily. The lower dose of radiation is also a definite bonus.
3. CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography)
CBCT scan is currently one of the most delicious treats on the rack. One would seldom debate that it is the blue-eyed boy of the imaging world.
CBCT is a useful tool for the imaging of craniofacial areas. It has achieved the transition from 2D to 3D imaging overcoming the drawbacks of its 2D counterparts. It allows for the sophisticated analysis of conditions such as jaw pathologies, impacted teeth, changes in cortical and trabecular bone & assessment of paranasal sinuses to name a few. One of the major advantages of CBCT is its ability to define the true position of the condyle in the fossa, which often reveals possible dislocation of the disk in the joint, and the extent of translation of the condyle in the fossa.
Designed for imaging hard tissues of the maxillofacial region, CBCT is capable of providing sub-millimetre resolution in images of high diagnostic quality, with short scanning times (10–70 seconds) and radiation dosages reportedly up to 15 times lower than those of conventional CT scans.
Increasing availability of this technology provides the dental clinician with an imaging modality capable of providing a 3-dimensional representation of the maxillofacial skeleton with minimal distortion and maximum detail.
CBCT has proven its superiority amongst the clan of imaging devices and is quickly finding its place among practitioners as their top pick.
4. Alternative local anaesthesia delivery devices
Pain control is the enticement of best practices in general and paediatric dentistry. Fear-related behaviour presents challenges in patient management. Needles are terrifying for some people in fact, injections cause pain and increase both heart rate and anxiety.
The Computer Assisted Local Anaesthesia Device delivers anaesthesia without a traditional syringe. Pain and anxiety are eliminated or reduced as a result of:
No visual stimulus of the syringe
Computer-controlled slow release of the drug into the mouth.
Computer-controlled pressure sensors that enable you to locate the best spot for the freezing (near the tooth that you’ll treat)
Patients love this technology because the anaesthesia is directed to the single tooth that will be treated, rather than the whole side of their mouth (no numbness of tongue or lip.) So after the treatment, patients can go about their day — even eating and drinking — without slurring or feeling self-conscious.
Another practice that could improve our experience with local anaesthesia is the traditional practice of using metal syringes with prefilled cartridges. The benefit of using this system of LA administration is that you will no longer have to worry about the LA getting oxidized as a result of communication between the environment and the vial. This also ensures the sterility of the anaesthetic solution. In addition to this there will be a considerable reduction in the plastic waste generated because of disposable syringes.
We all have our bit due to the planet. Turns out, that some traditions are worth keeping alive, for this, can prove to be a beneficial step towards a responsible future.
5. 3D surgical microscope
Everyone knows the majority of dentists now use loupes, but did you know that only 4 percent currently use a microscope? The next big thing after zoom microscopes is 3D microscopes, more so, the ones with their innovative design that can easily switch between 2D and 3D.
With a 4.5X–28X magnification range, the depth and detail are amazing. They have been found to be easy to learn and use, and it helped to keep perfect posture. Once you flip into 3D mode, your depth perception gets better, and a task that would otherwise take minutes will take you only a few seconds.
You must be warned that once you see detail in 3D, we’re not sure why you’d want to go back to 2D.
6. Artificial Intelligence
In the past few years, we have become exceedingly comfortable with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Alexa and Siri help us through plenty of our daily tasks. From reading the weather report to making calls and helping us run errands, they have it all covered.
Researchers are testing ways to use AI to efficiently diagnose dental issues by training computers to read radiographs giving dentists more time to cater to a patient’s needs.
Dentistry.AI is in its final development stage to detect existing caries as well as areas at risk before a dentist, a humble human, would be able to find them.
7. Extraoral Suction
Aerosols, for a long time now, have been a dentist’s arch nemesis. Water mist combined with bacteria, saliva & blood in the patient's mouth produce aerosols which are considered to be potential particles for transmitting diseases in the lungs, making dentists the most high at risk professionals to acquire respiratory infections as deadly as the SARS and the recent rouge – COVID 19.
The extraoral suction device removes these aerosols to prevent cross-infection between doctors and patients. Droplets number decreased significantly when intraoral and extra-oral suction were used together.
Intra-oral suction is mainly used to absorb water mist, saliva, blood, pus and so on. Extra-oral suction is used to remove all water mist and splashes outside the mouth, to filter and disinfect, and to protect the environment and medical staff.
Hence, patients would be more comfortable and the surroundings much cleaner.
8. Automated Scheduling Using Machine Learning
The front desk is the pulse of any dental practice. It is critical to regulate the appointments and communicate with patients in a proper fashion to ensure the smooth running of the clinic. Dentists can look forward to automated software taking over the time-consuming and imperfect science of keeping schedules filled with the right kinds of patients.
This automated scheduling system monitors available appointment times and analyses patient data to identify and connect with patients who best match your custom parameters including procedure types, profit margins, and more.
In spite of its impressive mechanics, ultimately, it lacks the human touch and the charm that is essential for the front desk.
The dental industry experiences new and exciting tech developments every year, and 2020 is seemingly no exception. These innovations are not only modernising practices, but also leading to improved oral care and smaller appointment times, which can each support the patient experience.
InDent aims at building an exclusive platform for dentists to reach out to one another and thereby foster our collective growth.