Dental care has come a long way since its first roots in 7,000 B.C in humanity’s first civilization. A few millennia later—the evolution of dentistry has developed our clinical approaches to bring a higher quality standard of dental care that incorporates technology in its practice.
Up to now, technological innovations are becoming integrated into dentistry and will continue to change the face of medical care. Genomics, artificial intelligence, and robotics go through rounds of innovations that transform how we diagnose and manage oral diseases. These innovations, once quality checked, don’t get confined in a lab, but rather practiced to the public by general, periodontal, and endodontic treatment specialists.
Over the years, scientific advancements have propelled the oral care industry significantly, with opportunities for new tech breakthroughs continuing to change the dynamic landscape in which dentists perform today. Let’s look at some of the present ways technology shapes the dental industry.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence and workforce automation are eventual realities. Cubicles will be replaced by assembly lines. Robots will take over clerical jobs. But in the meantime, AI is a tool that aids professionals in their respective practices.
In dentistry, robotics are employed in a sizable list of surgical and dental procedures. In mainstream dental care, however, the role of robotics is still at the early stages, limited to digital impressions and digital milling.
However, progress is ramping up with technological integration in more dental procedures. Recently, a company revealed a first-of-its-kind robotic dental assistant called Yomi — which has also obtained Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval. This design has allowed 3D surgical planning and guided placement of dental implants to be performed through programmed technology.
Recently as well, a robot from China has replaced dental implants physically for the first time. This is unprecedented for its time. All that a human did to intervene was pinpoint the accurate measurements required for the procedure; the robot did all the handiwork!
Needless to say, AI will be a reckoning force for the decades and generations to follow. But besides the operations themselves, robotics and technology are employed in various ways to benefit dentists and dental practitioners already.
Digital Dentistry: A Deeper Look
Besides the expertise as well, technology has made the administrative process of dentistry a much smoother experience for the customer. From electronic record-keeping and data analysis to new diagnostic tools, the tools surrounding the practice make progression much easier and the transition towards more intuitive and efficient practices a potential reality.
How can digital dentistry help, exactly? For one, with the proper diagnosis tools, dentist professionals can pinpoint your susceptibility to oral diseases by analyzing your genome strand, age, and race. Digital dentistry can create a more customized approach in dentistry too — like by figuring out how your body’s bacteria affect your oral health and how it can best be treated.
A tool that upholds digital dentistry is a digital imaging system like the Canary — which is an electric toothbrush-sized device that illuminates a red light to detect cracks in the teeth that X-rays may not be able to pick up. Another digital dentistry device is the S-Ray which analyzes your mouth and teeth in 3D to pinpoint the location of disease and cavity outbreaks.
AI Training for Dentist Trainees
The future of dentistry is not solely in the hands of present-day practitioners. It’s also a part of the student population that will comprise the workforce decades from now.
Technological advancements have eased the process of teaching and training these individuals. The utilization of customer resource management (CRM) has helped pave the development of a comprehensive recruitment and assessment tool that will help secure top-performing students from general higher-education institutions.
CRM is a vital tool to help educators understand and gain deeper insights on the best educational style that will cater to students. This will work in a way that it would measure a student’s progress, analyze their growth and give relevant advice, spot their weaknesses, and give them a clear road to success.
This will, in due time, bring forth a more tailored educational approach that matches the student’s abilities and experiences — thereby making the most of their acquired skillset.
Prevention Rather Than Cure
Dental care innovations focus on preventing diseases rather than curing them. Manufacturers hone their sights on building toothbrushes that can detect areas in the orifice that needs the most brushing, thanks to the camera and locating technology. They’ve also developed pressure sensors that detect whether you’re applying too much pressure as you brush.
Another highly innovative device is a pH detector that could tell the acidity of saliva. The more acidic saliva is, the more susceptible one is to develop oral and gum disease. These technology advancements can save patients thousands of dollars in lab costs and give them a more immediate way to stop diseases before it happens.