Dentists quietly go about their business, amid the high-pitched whine of the electric drill. They poke and prod with implements, many of which were designed decades ago. They do, however, utilise digital screens and cameras to examine the state of oral hygiene in the mouths of their patients. They can, via this technology, magnify the vision for their clients, which makes explaining what they need to do a whole lot easier. What other high-tech stuff do dentists employ in the 21C? Dentistry in the digital era is making giant leaps in all sorts of surprising directions. There has been a steady increase in technological advancements in dentistry over the ages.

Primal Parts of Our Selves

Coming face to face with the decay and degeneration inside your mouth on the big screen is no task for the faint hearted, I might add. One must find the necessary disassociation to deal with the images of rotten teeth and brown molars in a clinical way. Our teeth are, of course, very primal parts of our bodies. The psychological linkages between our teeth and deeply embedded aspects of our identity cannot be ignored in any discussion about dental hygiene. We have all had those dreams about our teeth falling out and the disturbing feelings these dreams produce.

Technology Increases Accuracy in Dentistry

CAD/CAM with intra-oral scanning plays an integral role in creation of crowns and other dental restoration work. Direct digitised impressions allow dental technicians to produce accurate reproductions for better inter-proximal contact within a client’s mouth. Click to see more technology in use at the modern Melbourne dental clinic in 2019. There is a veritable plethora of wonderful technologies being employed in a variety of ways. Dentists can put their patient’s minds at ease via state-of-the-art pain relief, visual demonstrations of their intended work, and less trial and error style dentistry.

Cost is an Issue

Some other digital advancements in dentistry are 3D printing; digital radiography; patient record data software; dental lasers; virtual and augmented realities; computer aided implant dentistry; dental loupes; and intra-oral cameras. Dentistry in the digital era will continue to expand its influence and impact upon the industry as a whole. Cost is an issue, of course, as dental work is not covered by Medicare in Australia and it is not cheap. These technologies do not come cheaply and cost will determine the timing and take-up of new technologies.