Dentistry has evolved over the last few decades to the point that some of the technology being developed seems like the stuff of science fiction. Dentists can now use cutting-edge technology such as laser systems, air blasters, and nanotube-infused dental implants to repair your teeth as efficiently and painlessly as possible. Here's a quick look at some of the technology that could be used in your local dental office.
Laser-Guided Cavity Detection
Lasers are one of the staples of science fiction stories, and they're now being used by dentists in a number of ways. X-ray machines may soon be a thing of the past; research has shown that laser and light machines are far more accurate at detecting small amounts of tooth decay so that it can be treated before larger cavities form. As an additional benefit, laser machines don't subject patients to potentially harmful radiation like traditional X-ray machines do.
Blasting Away Stains with Lasers
Dentists have also begun to use lasers in advanced tooth-whitening procedures. First, your dentist puts a protective cover over your gums and paints your teeth with a whitening agent. Then, they blast your teeth with a laser to catalyze the whitening agent, which bonds it to your teeth. Compared to traditional whitening procedures, which sometimes require four weeks of daily treatments, laser whitening is a much quicker process. It can also make your teeth up to six shades whiter.
Regenerating Teeth with Lasers and Stem Cells
Sadly, your teeth can't naturally heal themselves; if you chip your tooth or get a cavity, your dentist has to repair the damage by applying a synthetic material. However, scientists are now developing ways to activate the natural stem cells found in the interior of teeth by blasting them with lasers. Once activated, the stem cells begin to generate new dentin to heal the damage within the teeth, the same way that your skin heals itself if you get a cut.
Currently, the procedure has only been performed on rats. Nevertheless, the results were very promising; the rat teeth began to repair themselves within 12 weeks of a single procedure. Once the procedure is approved for humans, cavities could become a thing of the past.
Dental Implants with Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is another common subject in futuristic sci-fi stories. However, it's no longer merely a thing of fiction; scientists are implementing nanotechnology in a multitude of fields, including dentistry. One of the most exciting developments is the use of titanium dioxide nanotubes in dental implants.
Dental implants are already a very effective way to replace your missing teeth. The synthetic implant is secured to the bone beneath your gums so that a fake tooth can be installed on top. Combining implants with nanotechnology opens up some exciting new possibilities: if you get an infection, your dentist can use the nanotubes to deliver medicine beneath your gums without performing surgery. Scientists have also found that coating the nanotubes with silver particles helps stave off infections with no further treatment.
Drilling out Cavities with Air
Nobody likes having a tooth drilled, and the high-pitched noise alone is enough to give some people goosebumps. However, now dentists have a new option for removing cavities: air abrasion.
Essentially, air abrasion devices are like tiny sand blasters. They shoot baking soda, aluminum oxide, or silica particles at extremely high speeds in order to chip away decayed portions of your teeth with precision. Since the particles are so small, the procedure is much less invasive than using a traditional drill. In some cases, dentists can even perform the procedure painlessly without using a numbing agent.
If you're experiencing any problems with your teeth, make an appointment with a clinic like Oral Surgery Center and ask about what exciting new technologies they have available.