Dentistry has come a long way in the past few decades, with technological advances revolutionising dental care.
The future is looking increasingly like the world of science fiction and innovations in technology are transforming how we take care of our oral health. From SMART toothbrushes to the potential of genetic engineering, keep your eye on these five emerging trends that will change the world of dentistry forever.
Telehealth may have been in its infancy before the pandemic. However, for both patients and professionals, it is now a popular alternative to in-office consultations. Within a pandemic the advantages were clear - minimise contact and prevent the spread of Covid-19 - but what about the post-pandemic world?
Teledentistry is proving desirable, even after dental services have started opening up again. As well as providing care remotely, it’s being used as an educational tool and can be used for inter-professional communications. Furthermore, it streamlines referrals and offers a host of benefits for dentists and patients including:
In the future, monitoring dental health and taking good care of teeth and gums will be simplified with a SMART toothbrush. With Bluetooth devices that connect to an app, these toothbrushes monitor brushing techniques and encourage individuals to improve their approach.
Not only is this useful for adults, it is a great educational resource for teaching children. Personalised feedback illuminates areas prone to cavities and allow for precise, targeted cleaning. This helps prevent decay and gum disease, thereby reducing the need for treatments such as fillings.
CAD/CAM technology for producing same-day crowns is already in use in many dental offices. Using computers, images from scans or pictures taken on-site produce a digital template. This is sent to a milling machine where a ceramic crown is produced right there in the office!
This same technology and process can be used in 3D printing. This has all sorts of implications for producing orthodontic appliances, dentures and dental implants on-site in a dental office.
Taken a step further, bioprinting - which uses living cells - has the potential to transform dentistry by creating living tissue and bones. Potentially, this could be used in all sorts of applications, from regenerating gum tissue to creating jaws.
Scientists from Nottingham University in England and Harvard Medical School discovered that dental fillings with stem cells can regenerate teeth. This technique stimulates the natural cell regeneration process for dentin. As the main constituent in tooth enamel which produces new cells, it reveals the potential for self-healing teeth. It is an extraordinary thought to think that one day, we may be able to grow back our own teeth. Dentists and tooth fairies better watch out!
CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) has emerged to be one of mother nature's most innovative inventions.
The technology allows scientists to manipulate genetic code, potentially eliminating hereditary disease. One of the latest breakthroughs in genetic engineering, it may become a weapon against cancer. Yet, it has far-reaching benefits in healthcare and in dentistry too.
Ethical dilemmas and other issues may mean the use of the technology in dentistry is still some way off. But, studies are being performed on bacteria found in the mouth. By disrupting the production of bacteria and inhibiting biofilm formation, oral plaque could be a thing of the past. Thus, we could be looking at the end of the two most prevalent and destructive oral diseases: periodontal disease and tooth decay.
The future of dental health is exciting. With the advent of new technologies, the field of dentistry continues to evolve and adapt. Creating a better experience for patients, these emerging trends are the blueprint for oral healthcare going forward.
These emerging trends are the blueprint for oral healthcare. With the advent of new technologies, the field of dentistry continues to evolve and adapt. Going forward, the future of dental health looks exciting, creating a better experience for patients.
Amanda has worked for over 20 years in the healthcare sector, including a decade in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. With considerable knowledge of the fields of dentistry and oral health, she has many years of experience writing high-quality informative dental content.
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From SMART toothbrushes to the potential of genetic engineering, click to read about five emerging trends that will change the world of dentistry forever.