The art and science of dentistry is constantly evolving. The year 2020 taught us that we do not know the future. As we head into 2021, one certainty is that the prudent use of new dental technology will be a great asset to dental patients and the advancement of our profession.
In this issue, I will address some new innovations in dentistry that should enhance your dental experience and advance the quality of your care.
Dental lasers: Dental lasers have many benefits. At Center for Specialized Dentistry, we have been using lasers since 1993. It has proven to be a great asset to our patients because of its many applications. Lasers offer some unique and amazing advantages over more traditional approaches. The goal of lasers is to provide patients with a comfortable treatment. Here are some of the benefits of laser dentistry:
• Faster healing time.
• Less post-surgical bleeding.
• Less pain.
• Anesthesia may not be necessary.
• Lasers are sterile, which means there is less chance for an infection.
• Lasers are extremely precise, so less healthy tissue has to be removed.
• Less likely to need stitches with laser treatment.
Intraoral scanners: Pictures are worth a thousand words. In dentistry, photographs are a very important part of a patient’s dental history and their treatment story. At some point in your dental experience, you’ve probably had an impression taken of your teeth by biting into a tray filled with gooey material. The material is usually less than pleasant. An intraoral scanner makes those gag-inducing impressions a thing of the past. This device is used to scan the patient’s mouth and teeth creating a digital image and impression. It is quick and painless. It can even show patients how their teeth will look after treatment. This new dental technology will likely become the gold standard leading to improved patient experiences and improved results.
Digital x-rays: I often say to my patients, “You cannot treat what you cannot see.” Good quality x-rays make a world of difference in the diagnosis and management of diseases. Digital x-rays are now the gold standard in dentistry. When compared to traditional film x-rays, digital dental x-rays expose patients to less radiation and the images go directly to a computer where they are viewed instantly. Digital x-rays can also be emailed, enlarged and archived – all important features to our patients’ benefits.
CBCT scan: The cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan has been another “game changer” in our practice. It is a series of computer-generated images that gives three-dimensional views of a specific area or the entire mouth. This technology has changed dental radiographic imaging, allowing dentists to treat their patients more effectively. The cone beam digital x-ray allows dentists to move from pure diagnosis to treatment planning, which allows the patient to see a rendition of the final result.
A final note about 2020 and COVID-19
In 2021, dental services will be increasingly recognized as an essential service. This year has demonstrated that dentistry is in fact an essential service. Delayed preventive care leads to emergency care. Delayed gum treatment and restorative care leads to more pain and discomfort. Further delayed periodontal treatment, persistent crooked teeth, a bad bite or an abscessed tooth also lead to serious infections and early tooth loss. The worse effects of all of these dental infections is a deteriorating immune system contributing to medical health complications. We all hope there will never be another COVID-19 shutdown, but if there is, routine dental services should be deemed essential.
As a patient, find a dental professional that you can trust to give you the best care, and who offers state-of-the-art dental technology as a part of that process. Stay informed on the dental trends and ask your dentist questions to make sure you understand the pros and cons of all dental procedures. Finally, do not be afraid to seek a second professional opinion before embarking into complex treatment.
I trust that my columns this year have been informative and educational. Its purpose is to empower you to value good dental care as an important feature in achieving good overall health and wellness.
Happy new year!
• Dr. Kendal V.O. Major is the founder and CEO of the Center for Specialized Dentistry, which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in New Providence and Grand Bahama. He is the first Bahamian specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He is also a certified fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, New Providence. He can be contacted at (242) 325-5165 or email@example.com.