Cosmetic Dentistry Technology

As you may know from experience, it’s hard to simply ignore a toothache. The health of our teeth can greatly affect our ability to eat and speak, so it’s no wonder that humans have always been preoccupied with their teeth. In fact, Egyptian texts dating back to 1550 BCE refer to diseases of the teeth and various remedies used to alleviate them.

The Classic Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about eruption patterns of teeth, crude methods for tooth extraction and stabilizing loose or decayed teeth. Even dental techniques perceived as modern, such as crowns and bridges, go back to the Etruscans of 200 CE.

The Evolution of Dental Technologies

In the field of dentistry, we have definitely come a long way from the tree branch toothbrushes ancient Egyptians used to clean their teeth.

The evolution of dental care and the development of advanced methods for treating teeth has brought about many technologies, all aimed at making a visit to the dentist as painless and efficient as possible.

By the 1900s, tube toothpaste became the norm. Novocain, a local anesthetic, was introduced in 1905, numbing people’s dental phobias as well as their nerves. In 1938, the first nylon toothbrush hit the market, and by 1958, patients could rest easy in the first fully-reclining dental chair.

Despite these modern advancements in dental hygiene, a toothache is still associated with the dread of going to the dentist and nightmares of drills, forceps and root canals. However, as we have obtained a greater understanding of the physiology of teeth, dental technologies have evolved and made dentistry less painful and uncomfortable.

Modern Dental Technologies

Modern dental technologies such as air abrasion, bone replacement, digital x-rays, dental lasers and sedation dentistry have greatly changed our experience of going to the dentist. Instead of painful procedures and hit-or-miss methods, the availability of digital x-rays and dental lasers makes dental care more cost-effective and precise.

For those who experience extreme fear and dread over visits to the dentist, sedation dentistry, in which a patient is given relaxing sedatives to ease tensions and pain, provides a modern option for care. The variety and availability of dental technology has made it so that you no longer have a good excuse for postponing your dental appointments.

Air Abrasion

The shrill, distinctive sound of the traditional dental drill is what many people recall when feeling fearful of a trip to the dentist. Air abrasion is a dental technology that is an alternative to the drill, without the dreaded whizzing noises. Treating small cavities, removing hardened plaque and cleaning hard-to-reach places (such as the surface area between teeth) are all jobs performed through air abrasion.

Bone Replacement

Bone replacement is a dental technology that can be used to help people suffering from bone loss or those requiring tooth extractions. Most commonly, bone is taken from another part of the body and is used for its platelet-rich growth factors, which can induce bone tissue to grow and help heal teeth with low bone density.

Mouth cancer patients who need to replace parts of their mouth that have been removed are one group of people who benefit from bone replacement.

Composite Dental Materials

The advancements in materials engineering has made the use of composite dental materials widely available. Composite dental materials can be used to fill cavities, as well as to rebuild and restore teeth in natural ways. These materials are continually being improved to replicate tooth color more precisely and to hold their shape better. Producing natural-looking results while closing off cavities to further decay is the goal of using composite dental materials.

Digital X-Rays

Computer technology and dentistry have come together in the digital x-ray, a piece of dental technology that captures dental images through sensors and transmits the data to a computer screen for analysis. Digital x-rays greatly reduce patients’ radiation exposure and are easier to use on the patient than conventional x-ray methods. In addition, they make the need for processing times and photo labs obsolete, reducing the cost to the patient and allowing for multiple digital x-rays to be taken without added costs.

Dental Lasers

Dental lasers offer unsurpassed precision in the treatment of tumors, cold sores, decay removal and dental fillings. Using concentrated light energy to operate on a variety of conditions, dental lasers offer reduced discomfort during surgery and a virtually suture-free operation. Nearly painless healing is another benefit of using dental lasers.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is the ultimate dental technology because it allows patients to undergo dental work without anxiety, pain or discomfort.

Sedation dentistry uses anesthesia to numb the central nervous system, producing a relaxed sensation that makes the patient feel sleepy and aids the dentist’s work in complex procedures. People often feel the procedure lasts only a few minutes when it might have taken hours to perform.

The advancements in modern dental technology have improved dental hygiene and made visits to the dentist less frightening. Whether you fear the noise of the drill, the discomfort of x-rays, unsightly fillings or just sitting in the chair, dental technologies have found solutions, leaving you with no excuse for living with a toothache or not visiting your dentist.

Resources

American Dental Association (n.d.). History of Dentistry in the 19th Century. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from the ADA Web site.

Johnstone, G. (February 1, 2008). Dental Technologies. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from the Your Dentistry Guide Web site.

Ranft, L. (February 1, 2008). Sedation Dentistry. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from the Your Dentistry Guide Web site.