April Fools: Or is it?
My blog this month was going to be an April Fools’ Day scam. I was going to write about all this cool technology that was coming in dentistry that would make dental visits better. Then I started thinking. The best stuff I could come up with is technology that has or may become a reality in our lifetimes.
At a recent career day at the Wayland Middle School I told the students that almost everything in dentistry has changed since I went to dental school. Materials are better, stronger and easier to use. Techniques are faster and more comfortable for the patients. Computers have revolutionized dentistry. Everything including scheduling, billing, filing insurance claims, patient records, x-rays, patient communication, transferring of patient information and business accounting all depend on computers. Even lab work can now be done electronically by scanning teeth and sending the file to the lab where laser and CAD-CAM technology take over fabrication.
Air abrasion allows us to fill small cavities without anesthesia or drilling. We even have OraVerse which counteracts the anesthetic allowing that numb feeling to disappear faster. Intra-oral cameras, ultrasonic scalers, white fillings and decay detecting scanners have made dentistry easier, faster, more comprehensive and more comfortable. Our VELscope device even allows us to save lives by detecting cancer earlier than ever before.
So what does the future hold? How about vaccines for decay and gum disease? These are caused by bacteria, and scientists are currently trying to develop the perfect inoculation that could be given to children and eliminate cavities and periodontal disease. How about growing a new tooth? Stem cell research has been promising. Cells can be made to grow tooth structure. Planting these cells and getting them to grow and erupt as a tooth is something that the future could hold.
Just let your mind run wild. How about a rinse that kills gum disease bacteria while leaving the rest of your oral system in tact? How about a gel that dissolves decay but leaves healthy tooth structure in place? How about a material that bonds so strongly to teeth that broken teeth can be repaired without crowns? How about a substance that dissolves necrotic nerve tissue making root canals faster and far less traumatic? How about robots that perform your dentistry?
O.K. let’s not go too far!
You can see that dentistry continues to grow and change. The scary appointment you had as a child can now be a comfortable, enjoyable experience. Years from now, who knows how easy dental treatment will become? I only know that things will get better and better. No Fooling!
Email us your ideas for the future of dentistry. [email protected]. We will post the best ones on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/WaylandFamilyDentistBruceSexton
In the meantime, watch out for April Fools’ Day pranks and thanks for reading.