Advancements in Dentistry

Advancements in Dentistry

Computers are almost single-handedly taking over the world and the dental world too.  I am qualified 24 years this year and in that time advancements have been huge. The equipment I purchased in 2000 when I set up my practice in Cavan is very different and basic when compared to our new modern equipment. I have tried to keep up with advancements in dentistry and these technologies make diagnosis and patient care so much easier.There have been advancements to both equipment technology but also treatment technology.

The most useful tool that I use several times every day is digital radiography. Traditional x rays were so slow, taking 20-30 minutes to develop a film which was dipped into different liquids and emerged from the developer wet and had to be dried. In this time a patient had to wait patiently for their diagnosis possibly often in discomfort. Newer digital radiographs capture an image in seconds and relay it to a computer screen immediately where this high quality image can be  can be enlarged and shared with other surgeries or specialists. Digital x-rays uses 70% less radiation, therefore hugely increasing patient safety.

This year we have spent thousands on an intraoral scanner. Our scanner uses CAD-CAM technology  to capture a 3D image of a patients mouth, allowing us to prepare a tooth for a crown or bridge and send this image to a dental laboratory before the patient even leaves the building. The resulting crowns function, fit and look better than crowns made from goey, uncomfortable impression material. Our Sironna intraoral scanner also has virtual smile improvement software. From a scan of a patients mouth, this software can make the necessary proposed changes and deliver an image similar to what the treatment result will look like. This is encouraging for a patient who is about to embark on a long orthodontic or prostodontic treatment plan and helps patients see and appreciate what their end result will look like.

Dental photography and intraoral cameras take photos or videos of the inside of the patients mouth and teeth. These can be kept on the patients digital file or sent to specialist practices for second opinions if required. Magnification has also made our life so much easier. Dental loupes (magnifying glasses) and intraoral dental microscopes enlarge everything allowing us to see tiny details like cracks and hidden root canals. Magnification also helps our posture and stops us from slouching!!

One of the most amazing treatment advancements is dental implants. A dental implant is a titanium covered screw which is inserted into the patients bone and can biologically connect with the bone- it is not just mechanically retained by the threads. This screw replaces the root portion of a missing tooth and then a crown can be placed on the implant – similar to a conventional crown on a tooth. Replacing a missing tooth can improve function, speech and self esteem.

Clear aligner treatment is starting to replace the need for train track braces and it is predicted in 2025 that there will be more patients opting for these than conventional metal and wire braces. The technology associated with these braces allows computer software and 3D printer to generate a series of aligners, which can treat the most complex of orthodontic problems. The best known clear aligner system is “Invisalign” and we are the main providers in the Cavan area.