The Era of Digital Dentistry

The Era of Digital Dentistry

by Dr. Matt who is a
owner of Country Lakes Family Dental

We all know kids have an enigmatic fascination with video games. It is an ongoing encounter of countless hours of precious youth spent within a digital universe. When I used to teach, it was the popular response that my students wanted to “invent video games” when they grew up. As an adult, even I often wish I could replace those formative years of gaming with productive pastimes like learning another language or studying market trends, for example. However, I recently attended a continuing education course to train on equipment currently employed in our office. As I learned the processes for operating this machine to take digital impressions, digitally design crowns, and then fabricate them in the office within half an hour, I thought to myself, I am so glad I played video games.

You see, the digital age of dentistry is upon us. As a dentist, I am capable of taking our 3D CBCT x-rays to measure the precise amount of space needed to place an implant, digitally plan that implant to engage optimum bone while avoiding anatomical structures, integrate it with a digital impression to design a crown only to fabricate the crown and seamlessly restore the implant in a way that would allow, in some circumstances, to replace a tooth in a single day. This type of technology is just short of beaming a tooth into the mouth.

With digital impression, we are capable of digital designing orthodontic and Invisalign treatments so that the final proposal of a patient’s smile can be predicted before beginning treatment while allowing progress tracking throughout. Digital bite scans can be used to determine areas of offset occlusion or bite patterns. Functional 3D x-rays can determine abnormal jaw opening and closing patterns, or evaluate restricted airways. Intraoral cameras are capable of using decay detection to discover decay within the tooth before an actual cavitation occurs.

With these advances in dental technology and more, only time will tell what is in store for making dental care more predictable and more comfortable. Who knows? Your child’s hours of video games may pay off with a future as bright as their smile. Happy gaming and happy smiling!

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