New Improved Dentistry
Throughout history inventors and explorers have come up with amazing ideas that have made the lives of humans better or more comfortable. If you consider some of the greatest early inventions you are likely to think about the wheel, electricity, penicillin, or the telephone. But as the world changes, developments have become ever more sophisticated. For instance, we now rely heavily on digital technology, the internet, and GPRS. Everywhere you look there seems to be something new and exciting, and dentistry is no different.
People tend to associate dentistry with the noisy high-speed drill and a great many patients also have a fear of needles.  However, pain free, almost silent laser dentistry is now becoming more commonplace. Laser beams can be used to carry out many dental treatments, often without the need for anaesthesia. For procedures that do require the administration of a local anaesthetic, there are now alternatives to the use of needles such as iontophoresis, needleless jet injectors and computer-controlled delivery systems.
Things have also changed dramatically with regards to gums too. Previously the only option to restore the gums was surgery to reduce periodontal pockets. But more recently, dental professionals use bone and tissue grafts, membranes and even gels that contain structural proteins to encourage the regrowth of soft, and hard tissues.
Where amalgam was once used routinely to restore the teeth, there are now a wide range of different alternatives. Using techniques that require minimal intervention, materials such as glass ionomer cement and composite resin adhere to the teeth by chemical interaction to create strong, tooth-coloured direct restorations. At Tel Aviv University, scientists have developed resin-based composites that are enhanced with antibacterial nano-assemblies to hinder bacterial growth. This material has been used to make anti-bacterial dental filling products, which have just been approved for the dental market.
Resin composite, ceramics, acrylic and polymer-based materials make up the myriad of easily machined materials that are used to make indirect dental restorations. These are the ones that are made outside the mouth and applied to the teeth. Here again, modern technology including computer aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) means that highly accurate, strong and long-lasting restorations can now be created within hours rather than days.
Digital X-ray machines make it quick and easy for dental practitioners to produce high quality X-rays that can be viewed immediately, enhanced, saved and shared electronically. These machines do not require automatic film processors, chemicals or wait times. Patients are exposed to less radiation and the workflow for dental professionals is made much easier and faster.
Highly sophisticated magnification systems are also enabling dental professionals to perform microscope-assisted precision dentistry, using finer instruments with increased accuracy, incurring less pain and a reduced risk of trauma.
Also allowing practitioners and patients to see the previously invisible is the new CALCIVIS® imaging system. A team of experts from Scotland has developed a revolutionary system to visualise areas of active demineralisation on the surfaces of the teeth. The CALCIVIS® imaging system applies a luminescent photoprotein to the tooth enamel that produces a light signal when free calcium ions are present. These light signals are then captured, and glowing images of active demineralisation are immediately generated and displayed at the chair side.
The CALCIVIS® technology supports the minimally-invasive approach by producing images that depict the very early signs of tooth decay and dental erosion. This allows preventive measures to be put in place to remineralise and protect the teeth from any further damage. The CALCIVIS® imaging system has the potential to save patients from complex and costly dental treatments. What could be more comfortable or better than that?
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