The Future of Cosmetic Dentistry
Robots, cloning and lasers? It may sound like science fiction, but Allen Daniels, DDS, says it’s the future of dentistry. Dr. Daniels, of Bright Dental in Bright, Indiana, has seen some big changes in cosmetic dentistry in his time. Fewer appointments, better results and improved techniques are making cosmetic dentistry a more accessible, affordable and desirable option for individuals who are dissatisfied with the looks of their teeth. So what’s next? Here Dr. Daniels talks about some of the newest developments in cosmetic dentistry and where he sees the industry going in the next few years.
Developments in cosmetic dentistry have made it easier than ever to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. And some of the newest techniques were, not too long ago, the kinds of things you’d see featured in science fiction movies. Here are just a few of the exciting ways technology is changing the face of cosmetic dentistry.
Robotic dentistry has long been the topic of discussion among industry insiders. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could perform dental procedures remotely? Unfortunately, robotics is difficult to bring into the dental setting. In medical practice, patients usually undergo general anesthesia for surgeries. For dental procedures, however, most patients are awake and alert, and can’t be relied upon to provide the kind of perfect stillness robotic surgery requires.
Now, however, thanks to a brand new kind of technology that uses robotics, dental practitioners can benefit from the precision and speed offered by robotics without putting patients at risk. This new technology is even enabling some dentists to offer single-visit crowns. In this procedure, the crown (or other restoration) is created through sophisticated digital imaging techniques, computer-aided design and the use of robotic arms. So, not only can the crown be produced quickly on site, it can also be created to a high level of precision so that it fits perfectly. This technique eliminates the need for impressions, temporary crowns and multiple visits. Instead, the permanent crown is cemented into place during the same visit at which the tooth is prepared.
This exciting technology is not widely available yet, but it’s definitely coming to a dentist’s office near you in the not-to-distant future.
Although it hasn’t quite been perfected yet, scientists are working on a way to re-grow teeth that have been lost. This would create a much simpler and healthier alternative to dentures or dental implants. Similar to cloning, this process will likely involve “planting a seed,” created from the patient’s own DNA, in a tooth socket from which a new tooth will grow. So far, it’s been proven to be possible. All that’s left is to determine exactly how to achieve it in humans and how to make the procedure available to the masses.
Lasers are already a valuable tool for dentists, particularly when it comes to sculpting a patient’s gums. Sometimes, when a patient’s teeth appear to be extremely small, a gum “lift” can help. In many of these cases, the teeth are not actually smaller than normal. Instead, the patient has an abundance of gum tissue that has grown over the surface of the teeth. Using a laser, the dentist can actually make the gums smaller so that the teeth take on their proper proportion.Thanks to the unique properties of lasers, this type of gum surgery can be performed with less pain, less bleeding and shorter healing times than are possible with other surgical methods. Laser gum surgery is also extremely precise and less invasive than other methods of reshaping the gums. Rather than just “slicing and dicing,” the dentist is actually able to coax the gums into assuming a better position. Because more and more dentists have begun working with lasers, gum reshaping is becoming more widely available and is no longer the exclusive domain of periodontal specialists.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.