Oral and maxillofacial surgery involves diagnosing, and treating defects, injuries, and diseases primarily in the head, neck, face, and maxillofacial area, including the jaws and face. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s duties may include dental surgeries, jaw, oral, and facial tumor identification and removal, jaw and facial bone alignment, jaw reconstruction, and so on.
The use of dental technology or equipment to carry out dental treatments rather than mechanical or electrical tools is referred to as digital dentistry. Digital dentistry has the potential to make dental procedures more efficient than utilizing mechanical equipment. This article will emphasize the latest innovations in digital dentistry that are helping the procedures used in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
What Are the Latest Innovations in Digital Dentistry to Help in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?
The various latest innovations in digital dentistry to help in oral and maxillofacial surgery are discussed below.
- Digital Imaging
Earlier, getting an x-ray required an x-ray film, developer, and fixer. That was not only time-consuming but had more radiation exposure too. However, now the grainy black-and-white x-ray images are becoming obsolete in the modern dental clinic. Conventional x-rays have been replaced by digital x-rays which are very quick, don’t require a developer and fixer, and images can be seen on the computer that provides a better image for accurate diagnosis. Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), is another excellent example of digital imaging. It gives oral surgeons access to a full-color, 3-D image that can be moved about and examined from different perspectives. This enables oral surgeons to better prepare for an operation and anticipate any issues that may arise. This results in a speedier, easier process and more first-time successes. An additional advantage is a nearly 80% reduction in radiation exposure.
A surgeon evaluates the imaging for any problem areas, such as weaker or damaged bones, before placing dental implants. The image is then immediately uploaded to the system that will be used to design the patient’s implants.
- Three-Dimensional Printing
Traditionally, dental prostheses were created by hand. This was not only a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, but it also necessitated multiple fittings and adjustments. In the case of dental implants, even minor flaws frequently resulted in the need to redo the entire procedure.
Computer-controlled 3-D printing technology can now recreate a precise match for each individual patient and tooth using digital images. Now, more first-time successes are possible thanks to the high level of precision.
- Intraoral Cameras and Scanners
The tiny round mouth mirrors that dental experts have historically used to inspect the inside of your mouth are quickly being replaced with small cameras. One of the most significant advantages of these cameras is magnification. They can better notice any possible difficulties with your dental health that need to be addressed when they can make your tooth roughly the size of your head on a flat screen. Another advantage is that they can share their observations with the patient, allowing them to better understand and enhance their dental hygiene. Pictures can also be exchanged with lab technicians in order for crowns and bridges to match the color of the patient’s natural teeth.
Digital tools called intraoral scanners take incredibly precise 3D photographs of oral tissues, including the teeth, and gums. Digital impressions of the mouth are made using them, and these impressions can be used to design and make dental restorations like crowns, bridges, and dentures.
- Computer-Controlled Local Anesthetic Delivery (CCLAD)
While dental treatments can be uncomfortable, adequate local anesthetic is required to alleviate pain. Yet, patients frequently fear discomfort from anesthetic injections more than pain from the dental treatment itself.
Despite careful anesthetic procedures, dental local anesthesia can cause pain for a variety of reasons, including soft tissue damage during penetration of the oral mucosa, pressure from anesthetic solution spread, the temperature of anesthetic solution, low pH of anesthetic solution, and pain from drug properties.
Swabbing anesthesia is frequently utilized on the injection site to lessen pain during local anesthesia; similarly, local anesthetic procedures that can anatomically reduce pain, such as infiltration anesthesia, should be employed rather than subperiosteal or intraosseous injections that can cause pain.
Several devices have been developed that can deliver local anesthetic into tissues at a predetermined rate. These “painless anesthetic devices” are referred to together as CCLAD devices (computer-controlled local anesthetic delivery). It also refers to devices that not only reduce and maintain injection speed but also maintain a constant speed while taking the anatomical characteristics of the tissues being injected into account.
Laser technology has advanced rapidly in recent decades, and lasers have found a place in a variety of surgical specialties. Lasers have become indispensable in oral and maxillofacial (OMF) surgeries. It serves as an extra modality for soft tissue surgery due to its numerous advantages. Lasers have several applications in OMF surgery, and the introduction of new wavelengths has resulted in new treatments that can be performed using laser technology. Lasers have become crucial in the practice of OMF surgery. Lasers are quickly becoming the standard of care for many oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures. The rationale for this shift is that lasers can perform numerous surgeries more efficiently and with less morbidity than scalpels, electrocautery, or high-frequency instruments.
- Piezo surgery Device
Earlier, osseous surgery was conducted using hand instruments and various rotating devices with numerous burs that required external copious irrigation due to the heat produced by these instruments. In addition to heat, considerable pressure was used in osseous procedures, which had limitations in the case of damaged or brittle bones. To address these limitations, a novel surgical approach based on ultrasonic micro-vibrations for precise and selective bone cutting was developed, with the added benefit of protecting the surrounding soft tissues. Piezo surgery is a brand-new alternative technique that was first used in dentistry for surgeries involving the bones.
The current device consists of a novel piezoelectric ultrasonic transducer powered by an ultrasonic generator capable of driving a variety of resonant cutting inserts, a hand piece and a footswitch connected to the main unit, which supplies power and has holders for the handpiece and irrigates fluids, as well as a peristaltic pump for cooling with a jet of solution that discharges from the inserts and aids in debris removal from the cutting area.
The device contains a control panel with a digital display that allows for modification of the power and frequency. The device is widely used in dentistry for a variety of applications such as root planning, removal of supra- and sub-gingival deposits and stains from teeth, crown lengthening procedures, traumatic tooth extractions, ridge augmentation procedures, sinus floor elevation procedures, bone graft harvesting, inferior alveolar nerve lateralization, implant surgeries, and ridge expansion procedures, among others.
- Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP)
Using 3D virtual models of the patient’s anatomy, virtual surgical planning (VSP) technology enables surgeons to design challenging oral and maxillofacial procedures. A virtual model of the patient’s bones, soft tissues, and nerves are created using specialist software by importing data from CBCT scans and other imaging modalities. This model can be used by surgeons to plan the placement of bone grafts, dental implants, and other surgical procedures as well as to mimic the surgical operation. VSP technology enables more accurate surgical planning, which can save recovery times and minimize problems.
To conclude, advancement in dentistry has made dental procedures much easier and more comfortable. The numerous advancements in digital dentistry are advantageous for both the dentist and the patient, particularly CBCT, which has improved the accuracy of treatment planning for implant surgery.