Technology worked its way into everyday life in a way that makes us wonder if in some decades we will have spare parts for medical purposes much like in the same way we have for cars or appliances. Health professionals from various domains are taking advantage of the new available techniques in their endeavor to make treatments easier, shorten the recovery period and perform the medical act with as little pain as possible.
Dentistry is one of the most frightening parts of medical care for both adults and children, therefore any type of treatment that promises fewer injections and less drill work sounds extremely promising and worth trying, putting costs aside.
The most important aspects of dental work are customization and time as a recent article explains about a dentist’s choice to use 3D scanning and printing:
“Christchurch dentist and early adopter George Glausiuss bought his 3D camera, CAD design software, 3D milling machine and oven in 2011 for […] $250,000. For the patient, Glausiuss’ ability to complete two crowns in one appointment meant he saved an extra two hour return trip to Christchurch from his home in Banks Peninsula. In the past, Glausiuss would have taken a mould and given him temporary crowns – requiring a return appointment in two weeks time.”
This new technique in not embraced by all dentists, as most are not ready to make a quarter million dollar investment in technology, neither are emotionally prepared to let go of the small drill and the years of hard work practicing to perfection and just hand over the credit to a computer.
Yet, the ability to use just a tooth-brush type of instrument which is painless, a printer and some simple dental work to give the patient a fully customized solution in a matter of hours means a whole new era.
Another milestone is represented by the pioneering technique which promises pain free cavity elimination and self-healing of teeth in a natural way, which, applied early enough to a cavity could eliminate completely the need of mending it through classical procedures including anesthesia, drilling and filling.
Named EAER which is short for Electrically Assisted Enhanced Remineralisation this revolutionary procedure means a deep cleaning of the affected tooth and spraying on minerals under electrical pulse to ensure assimilation.
Dr Rebecca Moazzez explains the reasoning behind the superiority of this technique:
“getting a cavity and having it filled is a vicious cycle, because they’re not made to last forever so it means a patient will always have to get it touched up and refilled, forever. The new procedure won’t replace the effects of regular tooth brushing and cavity fillings, but by repairing slightly damaged teeth, this team of scientists may have found a painless way to stop cavities from maturing.”
If these practices seem taken out a science fiction movie and you can’t expect to find them at your local dentist in the next few years, there are still some improvements of which you can take advantage even in small family practices.
We have spoken with Dr.Pejman, a Pediatric Dentist in Austin and an expert in digital radiography about the other benefits of this technique, apart from being just more ecological, since the pictures are sent to a computer and stored online. The patient has to undergo less exposure, making this the best way to treat children who can withstand less X-rays.
However, the most important benefit of going digital resides in the fact that the patient becomes involved in the medical act as they can understand exactly what is going on by comparing before/after radiographs in a way similar to weight loss pictures, getting more confidence in their dentists and hopefully becoming more relaxed about the procedures.