Dentistry is evolving at a rapid rate thanks to technology and modern medical advancements, which means that your visit to the dentist is more likely to be less painful and more effective than ever before.
Here is a look at some of those notable advances in dental care, including how the whole dentist experience has changed, why digital images make such a difference, plus a pleasing alternative to painful poking.
One of the few things that haven’t changed over the years is the instruction from your dentist to “open wide” so that they can take a good look at what is going on inside your mouth, but other than that, there are so many changes that modern dentistry bears little resemblance to the practices that existed to serve previous generations.
Step inside a modern practice and you will be greeted by one of the Ascent Family Dental care team, for example, who all play a role in taking care of your teeth and looking after your needs while you are under their guidance.
This is fairly typical of how a modern practice is run and exceptional patient care is not the thing that most dental practices aspire and strive to achieve, as they now have a range of tools at their disposal to fix your dental problems in the least intrusive and painful way possible.
High-tech X-rays show exactly what is going on
Radiographs are being replaced in dental practices by digitized X-rays, meaning your teeth and gums can be viewed with pinpoint accuracy and top-quality digital images.
Rather like the fact that digital cameras have overtaken our previous obsession with 33-mm film, the same analogy applies when talking about digital X-rays, which are considered to be faster and more efficient than the old-fashioned radiographs they are now replacing.
Using digital X-rays allows your dentist to capture an image inside your mouth and display it on a computer screen for easier and more efficient analysis, allowing them the chance to share the image with you and talk about your treatment options with greater clarity.
Another advantage of going digital is that you can keep an accurate record of treatment progress and if you are having root canal work, for instance, your dental specialist can use these digital X-rays to confirm that the procedure has been successful.
Less poking around in your mouth
One of the less comfortable experiences as a patient in the dentist’s chair is when you are being subjected to an examination and your dentist is using an instrument known as an explorer to poke around and look for evidence of decay.
Thankfully, there is now a growing trend amongst dentists to use a more patient-friendly option in the shape of a diode laser.
The diode laser has the ability to detect and remove cavities. It works by exposing your teeth to the wavelength of the diode laser and if your teeth are found to be healthy the dentist will see a low reading on their digital display.
Decayed teeth tend to glow under this scrutiny and also produce a higher reading, allowing the dentist to identify any problem teeth without having to prod and poke around while you lie back and wait for the examination to end.
It could still be bad news when you are told that you have a cavity that needs filling but at least it is less painless finding that out when your dentist uses a diode laser.
A brighter smile
It has always been a desirable trait to possess a nice healthy smile with bright white teeth and there has been a noticeable growth in the number of teeth-whitening products in recent times, but it should be noted that public perceptions have yet to align with the technology needed to carry out this procedure safely.
Home teeth-whitening kits and even services offered by some beauticians should be treated with a degree of caution, as overuse of peroxide could have the effect of masking underlying damage that needs attention.
Make sure the person offering to whiten your teeth is suitably qualified to do so and knows more about teeth than how to apply a whitening product to them.
These are just a few examples of how patients today have greater treatment options available and can relax a bit more comfortably in the chair than their predecessors might have done.
Isobel Holden works at a dental surgery and is excited by the new technology that the dental industry is seeing. She writes about this as well as other dental matters in her articles.