Stop Fearing the Chair: Progress in Dental Technology

Technology improves dental care adding less invasive methods of treatment

Mention a trip to the dentist and pretty much everyone winces in fear of pain or in guilt at someone knowing that they haven’t really kept their resolution to floss regularly and with great enthusiasm. However, nowadays there is no real reason to avoid a dental checkup. Technology has come quite a long way in the last several years, ensuring that patients have a less invasive experience and, in turn, feel more confident about their oral health. A few distinct changes, including X-ray techniques and lasers that reveal cavities, have helped make dental appointments better for everyone.

Remember those plastic tabs placed throughout your mouth that held the X-ray in place, for example? Your instructions were, “Bite down hard and don’t move.” If you didn’t remain completely still, you had to do it all over again.

Needless to say, those tabs, professionally known as bitewing X-rays, were extremely uncomfortable and pinched your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

These X-rays were important because they could show the upper and lower back teeth and how the teeth touch each other in a single view. They could show your dentist decay between the teeth and indicate how well the upper and lower teeth lined up.

Those prickly tabs no longer have to be a part of your routine at the dentist’s office. In some offices, a pen-sized camera now is held against your gums, developing images based on laser pulses. The image is then produced on the monitor directly in front of you.

The Canary System from Quantum Dental Technologies has been described as a “wow product” by dental professionals. It detects tooth decay in its early stages and is pain free and non-invasive because it uses a low-power, pulsating laser light to scan teeth.

The Canary System provides important information about the tooth up to a depth of 5 millimeters below the surface and as tiny as 50 microns in size – 20 times smaller than a millimeter.

Going from futuristic equipment to a simple wipe may seem extreme, but dental technology can come in many forms, especially when it packs a potential lifesaving punch. SDS Southland has created Steriplex SD, a wipe that can kill more than 99.9999 percent of Clostridium difficile spores in five minutes. It contains no bleach, ammonia, phenol, phosphates or aldehydes. It is being used widely by dental practices and hospitals because it quickly and safely disinfects surfaces against various bacteria and viruses.

Another popular item is the Elevance Delivery System, distributed by Midmark. A delivery system is a machine that controls components such as air and water.

The clinician-inspired Elevance Delivery System manages all components from one location. The digital controls eliminate the need to adjust settings multiple times during the work day and may potentially reduce a patient’s time in the chair.

Advancements in dental technology have resulted in more effective treatment and long-term benefits for patients. So, the next time someone asks if you’ve been to the dentist lately and your answer is a sheepish “no,” go ahead and book an appointment with one of our talented professionals in East Cooper. And show those pearly whites for Smile Week this year.

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