Gone are the days when you would go to the barber shop to get your teeth pulled. We no longer have a one stop shop for a quick shave and a painful tooth removal – and that is a good thing!
Dental technology has advanced a lot in the past decade and has made new treatments possible and old treatments even better (ie less painful or quicker for example). This is all good news for us folks living today who get to take advantage of this technology within miles of our homes. Before we talk about modern dental technology, let’s talk about where the profession started.
How did dentistry start?
As was mentioned in the outset, dentistry started as a side job for barbers. They were the ones that already had sharp tools that could be used for basic dentistry practice. These folks also performed the early forms of surgery and were thus called barber-surgeons.
So as you can imagine, the tech was really low quality and not designed at all for what we think of as dentistry today. The last of the barber-surgeons died in the 1800s and a more modern type of dentistry evolved. A little before that, the father of modern dentistry, Pierre Fauchard, wrote the first text that comprehensively detailed the mouth and teeth. He also was the first to describe tooth decay caused by sugar.
In the 1840s, the first dental college was opened, and in 1859, the American Dental association was formed. So, as you can see, dentistry is a fairly new field of practice! It has advanced quickly both in terms of technique and technology since those days when you could get your barber to check out your toothache.
So let’s talk about a few of these technologies.
What are some modern forms of dentistry technology?
Much of what we think of when it comes to the field of dentistry is fairly new.
For example, sedation dentistry in all its forms is a technology that has helped people have their teeth cared for but with much less pain and less anxiety than before. These come in oral forms, gaseous forms, and IV forms, all of which have various upsides compared to non-sedated dentistry.
Another type of modern technology used in dentistry are tools that help to straighten the teeth. Regular metal braces seems to be a dated practice at this point as new technology like clear retainers and clear braces are becoming more and more common. These clear technologies allow for the same straightening mechanism while being less aesthetically worrying.
One more type of modern dentistry technology is imaging. This includes both 3D and X ray. We will talk about these more in depth.
How does X-ray and 3D imaging work? How can dental imaging help you?
X ray works by sending photons through the body which deposit images on special film inside the mouth which is what you are told to bite down on at the dentist office. Teeth and bones show up as white images on radiographs (the special x-ray image material) because they absorb the photons. Less dense material allows the photos to pass through and as a result show up as dark parts of the image. This is why you do not see your cheeks on the x-ray!
X-rays allow for very accurate and sharp images of the inner workings of the mouth (and other parts of the body for that matter) without any need for invasive surgery. So whereas the barber-surgeons might have needed to explore surgically to find the problem, modern dentists can just take an x-ray and look at it within a few minutes in the office!
3D imaging uses x-rays but in a cooler, more complex way. A 3D imaging machine spins around your head and takes multiple images of your jaw and teeth. The images are then sent to a computer that stitches the images together to create a clear, 3D image of your teeth.
Both of these technologies help patients, like you, every single day. They can provide your dentist with important knowledge so that they can determine what exactly is going on with your teeth! These types of scans are crucial for treating conditions like tooth decay, assisting in oral surgery, and providing imaging for dental implantation.
At Devaney Dentistry, we are able to use these modern dental technologies to make your tooth health journey as easy as possible. We will talk you through the technology so that you understand how they work and why we use them. We are passionate about dental health and we are constantly updating our technology to make your visits as good as they can be!