With any industry or profession, such as dentistry, advances and improvements are always being made. Most of the time, those improvements are done in through small tweaks to existing procedures and technology, also known as incrementalism. Dentistry has had periods of significant advancements that go beyond incrementalism. We had our first dentist, Hesy-Re, by 2600 BC. What could be described as the first modern filling material, a silver paste that is the precursor to amalgam, was around by 700 AD. By the mid 1700s, dentist were beginning to offer more esthetic restorative options, and in 1789 a patent was given for the first porcelain tooth. Just a few years later the first dental drill, foot driven of couse, was created. In 1895 the first xray used in dentistry was taken by a New Orleans dentist. Much to everyone’s relief, Novocaine was invented in 1905. The first dental implant was successfully placed in 1938, but was not revolutionized into the main stream until the 1980s.
We are currently beginning the proliferation of the next major advancements in dentistry, the digital age. Before now, there has been in digital dentistry, but now we are truly combining digital technology in ways that 20 years ago, would have seemed like science fiction. Cone Beam technology has brought the 3D CT scanning into the dental office. We can nearly instantly and more accurately diagnose and treat complex conditions that previously would have taken weeks to work up. Today’s cone beam machines use less radiation than a standard panoramic machine found in most offices. Intraoral scanners are replacing more traditional impression techniques. I don’t know of any patient that is going to miss the goopy mess that was required to do just about anything in dentistry. With virtual dental and planning software, we can utilize cone beam and intraoral scanning to plan a case to unbelievable levels of accuracy, all before ever beginning treatment. When non-virtual components are needed, we can utilize 3D printers to create models and surgical guides to help us deliver the same precision treatment created virtually. The results are truly amazing.
Technology can be a great thing, when used safely and appropriately by well trained practitioners. In our practice we make sure to constantly stay up to date. Staying current is only one component. Knowing when the technology is ready to be utilized is also important. We follow advances in research, know when to the technology is ready and strive to be in the forefront so that we can be leaders in our field. When your oral surgeon can plan more accurately, be safer with less surgical time, everyone wins. Come see us to find out some of the cool things we are doing for you.