This is a guest post by Richard Keane
Richard Keane is a freelance writer who contributes to a range of blogs, spreading the word of green dentistry, good oral hygiene and how a beautiful smile can make a world of difference. He has a firm belief in the saying, ‘Smile and the world smiles with you’, but he is well aware that everybody has their off-days.
The days have long gone when people with toothache had to tie the aching tooth to a door in an attempt to pull it out. Yes, it might surprise you, but that’s just what they did. During the last hundred years, dentistry has undergone tremendous changes. New allied professions such orthodontists and prosthetic technicians have sprung up while dentists themselves now offer their patients better help and advice.
While dentists are not going to disappear any time soon, it is gratifying to know that people in the UK and other advanced nations are realising the health benefits of ensuring good clean teeth; it’s also good to know that new technologies are helping.
But what forms do these technologies take?
They could be divided into three types – personal care, dental care and informational.
Personal care involves ensuring individuals make proper use of all the available oral and dental health facilities. These would include using the correct toothbrush and toothpaste not to mention knowing how to clean correctly; this might include flossing or perhaps using an anti-plaque cleaning product.
Toothbrushes themselves are no longer just the long handled bristle brushes. Recent developments have produced electrical circular brushes, and even manual brushes that use an individual’s saliva to clean the teeth. The latter even does away with toothpaste products, many of which could do teeth more damage as they are often abrasive.
Informational technologies refer to software applications now available on devices such as smartphones. For instance, if you have an iPhone you can download a wide range of applications covering anything from improving your knowledge of anatomy to a glossaries and descriptions of radiation dentistry. You can even see X-ray pictures. Many of these applications are useful for both the casual user and those studying dentistry.
Some applications are aimed at the professional dentist. For example, the Cosmetic Dentistry Applicator is able to analyse and measure a patient’s teeth in order to decide what cosmetic care is needed. This particular software even has a ‘smile design checklist.’
Similarly, Dental Prosthodontist enables dentists to promote proper oral health.
One of the major developments, particularly in recent years is dental care technology. While some traditional technologies such as the dentist drill are still used, many of the developments relate to diagnosis. And with the advent of the digital age, these tools are set to improve even further.
Although the major developments are aimed at the health professional, this is not totally the case. Patients are also able to make use of new innovations. For instance, DVD glasses have been invented which allow clients to watch films while having treatment. It is well known that being kept entertained reduces stress levels, so what’s more relaxing than watching a film while you’re having your teeth pulled.
DVD glasses are also beneficial to dentists since a relaxed patient means quicker treatment.
Related to this is a new patient calming dental technology called Nucalm. It is a non invasive technique which works by inducing calm in the individual. Patients are given tablets which counteract the release of adrenaline, the latter being involved in increased anxiety and excitement.
Laser technology has been used in the medical arena for quite a long time, but dentistry has been rather slow in taking it up. This is now changing. One laser treatment called Diagnodent helps dentists diagnose the early signs of tooth decay. What’s more, as it’s a non painful and non invasive technique it is useful in treating anxious patients.
All in all, dentistry is changing. So, is there any reason why you still fear your dentist?