One national agency estimates that advances in dental research save Americans more than $4 billion a year. Dentistry today has the most sophisticated, high-tech equipment ever available, allowing the dentist to treat and diagnose with remarkable precision. Such technology also vastly reduces, and in some cases eliminates, much of the pain and discomfort for you. Some of the more exciting advances coming out in dental research include new genetic therapies, tissue repair methods and improved materials that are biocompatible.
Here's a look at some of the newer technologies:
- Digital imaging - Allows almost instantaneous views of images inside the patients' mouth. Examples include intra-oral cameras, extra-oral digital cameras (images from outside the mouth looking in), and digital X-rays on a PC screen.
- Digital radiography - like traditional X-rays, digital radiography allows your dentist to easily spot deep tooth problems such as bone loss, deep decay and root canals.
- Lasers - Lasers may one day replace drills, with more precision and less pain. Some teeth whitening, gum, and decay removal therapies employ the use of lasers today.
A Future without Drills and Fillings?
Some health experts believe that a future without drills and fillings is not that far off.
From regenerated teeth using your own DNA, to such futuristic techniques called "bio solutions" that treat disease on a molecular level, incredible advances are being explored every day. For example, bacteria that cause decay may one day be able to be modified before they cause damage.