Technology has pevaded much of our daily lives, from wearable technology to self-driving cars to drone-delivered packages. By and large, these new technologies are helping people work more efficiently and make life more convenient. In the case of the dental arts, technology is making it easier for people to get the smile of their dreams in a number of remarkable ways.
1. Making a (digital) impression
Gone are the days of clenched jaws around messy tray impression molds. Today, cosmetic dentists can collect information about your teeth through the use of digital impressions or scans. Digital impressions are faster than traditional ones, and have substituted out the gag-worthy goop for an electric wand and an “ah.” Digital photography has also transformed the way patients make decisions about their forms of treatment. Having an instant visual aid of your teeth makes it easier to understand the issues at hand and the dentist’s recommendations.
2. Smile 2.0
Technology has also alleviated the anxiety surrounding smiles, and what they look like. Dentists can mock up patients’ proposed smiles with digital smile design software or 3D-printed models. According to American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry President 2018-2019 J.A. Reynolds, D.D.S., “These tools help patients communicate more effectively about what they are looking for in their new smile and help dentists communicate more effectively about how they are going to accomplish the patient’s goals.” Some cosmetic dentists even use virtual reality to show patients their new smile before they agree to the treatment.
3. Same-day service
New dental technologies also go a long way in making a dream smile a reality. Patients can get same day crowns, dentures, night guards, and more thanks to in-office milling machines and 3D printing. Advancements in dental materials mean stronger crowns and veneers; and the stronger the materials, the longer your new smile will last.
The leaps in dental innovation notwithstanding, advancements in technology will never be able to take the place of a properly trained cosmetic dentist in creating beautiful and natural-looking smiles. When selecting a cosmetic dentist, make sure to inquire about his or her education and training in cosmetic dentistry.
Fred Peck, D.D.S., FAACD, [email protected]