Fun fact: The first successful implant we know of is on a lower jaw fragment from the Mayan civilization that dates back to between the 7th and 8th centuries AD. The jaw has implants made from three separate shell pieces,which were used to replace three of the bottom front teeth.
Jumping ahead ten centuries later, did you know that although Paul Revere may be most popularly known as a silversmith and patriot in the American Revolution, he also worked as a dentist? Yep, you read that right. He would wire dentures made of animal teeth and walrus ivory into his patients’ mouths. (I’m thinking it’s a good thing we have more modern dentistry practices now.)
Times have changed since 1776. And certainly since the Mayan era. Here are five things you may not know about how modern dentistry has changed in just the past few decades.
#1: Implant Procedures Have Become a Lot Less Painful
Implants are one of those procedures that patients usually report was infinitely less scary than they initially believed it would be.
If you’re unfamiliar with implant surgery, it’s a multistep process that can span a year’s time. On your first visit you’ll have a tooth extraction and, potentially, a bone graft. The bone then needs three-to-six months to heal. When enough bone has been “established,” a second appointment is made to make a new incision and place the implant. Your jaw needs another three-to-six months to heal. In the third appointment, an impression of the mouth is taken to create a custom abutment and crown. Once these are placed, you’ll have a fully renewed smile!
Modern dentistry uses lasers and digital cameras, which have streamlined this process to make it faster and drastically less painful. KaVo, a soft tissue laser, replaces the need to use scalpels and stitches. As the laser removes tissue, it disinfects the area, which means a faster healing time, less bleeding, and reduced risk of infection.
#2: Digital Scanners Have Increased Accuracy
Digital scanners (or intraoral scanners, as we call them in the business), create a digital impression of a patient’s mouth using CAD/CAM technology. The E4D Dentist system is a CAD/CAM system that allows us to not just scan, but also create materials such as the custom crowns necessary for implants right on site in our offices.
This has allowed us to provide a faster and more comfortable experience for our patients as well as create an end product with a superior fit.
It takes just five minutes to create images with a wave of the intraoral wand. No more biting into a mold; no more uncomfortable mess; no more waiting for the material to dry before sending it off. This manual process was one of the biggest sources of error in the impression creation process. It has now been virtually (pun intended) eliminated. Kudos to modern dentistry.
#3: Laser-treated Tissue Heals Faster
Did you know that the word laser is an acronym? It stands for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.” Laser treatment has been commercially used in clinical dental practices since 1989.
Throughout the years, as the technology has advanced, so too have the benefits. Laser treatment decreases the need for stitches, minimizes bleeding (as it promotes blood clotting), lowers risk of bacterial infection (as it sterilizes the area), promotes faster healing time, and may even result in less damage to the surrounding tissue than traditional treatment methods.
#4: Digital X-Rays Reduce Exposure to Radiation
X-rays have evolved leaps and bounds since the days of Madam Curie.
Yesteryear’s X-rays applied a broad-spread ray that led to blurry images, yet still required a high-dose of radiation exposure. X-rays now utilize a shorter “pulse” that can be more carefully maneuvered to safely zero in on and capture images that are more clear.
Not only is the equipment used to capture images smaller for a more comfortable experience, but it also enables us to receive images instantly. And faster images means faster diagnosis for our patients.
#5: Modern Dentistry and Early Detection Methods for Early Prevention
VELscope is an oral screening technology that allows us to find early signs of oral cancer we wouldn’t ordinarily find with the naked eye during a traditional examination. The process takes just five minutes, and early detection can raise cancer survival rate up to as much as 80%.
CamX Spectra is a detection aid that employs a fluorescent light. Tissue with early signs of decay will appear bright red, and healthy tissue will appear a luminous blue.
CamX Spectra is small, unintrusive, and causes no pain. What’s more, your wallet will love this incredible technology. Why? Well, by catching decay early on, you won’t require the more intensive procedures to remedy deeper decay that can be a more costlier fix.
If it’s been a while since you last sat on a dentist chair, don’t put it off any longer. Another way modern dentistry has evolved? You can easily schedule an appointment with us today by filling out a simple form on our site. We’ll get you booked in and ensure you’re well taken care of. Dental technology has only improved for the better — it’s faster, less invasive, more proactive, and creates a far more comfortable experience for you as the patient. We can’t wait for you to experience the difference for yourself.