One of the few constants anymore is that life, in all its facets, can be expected to change at a more rapid pace with each passing year. Technology is ever-evolving, and, in many ways, it has rendered our everyday lives largely unrecognizable from how they were even a decade ago. While the merits of this technological boom in the general sense are up for debate, one area in which these developments have irrefutably effected a change for the better has been in dentistry.
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear some variant of the following from one of my patients: “I’m terrified of the dentist” or “I had a really awful experience at the dentist as a child.” It’s a challenging psychological barrier that many patients have to traverse in order to come to see the dentist at all! My view is that many of these less-than-stellar dental encounters stemmed not solely from a lack of empathy or a medieval technique, but rather from making the best use of the (lackluster) technology that was available at the time.
Fortunately, many of the root causes of past negative experiences have gone by the wayside, and new treatment modalities have sprung up in their stead. For instance:
- Teeth that might not have gotten completely numb with traditional Novocain can now get relief nearly 100% of the time with dentistry’s newest anesthetics.
- Patients with periodontal disease (resulting in a progressive loosening of the teeth over time), if intervened on in time, can keep from losing their teeth.
- With the advent of dental implants, patients without teeth have more stable options available to them aside from traditional dentures.
- Teeth that would previously have received silver fillings can now be repaired with tooth-colored alternatives
It’s an exciting time to be a dentist, and I, along with many of my colleagues, are endlessly thankful to be able to offer not only the aforementioned treatment modalities, but also countless other modern technologies that make going to the dentist easier than ever. By utilizing advances in 3D printing, CT scanning, and digital workflows, dentists can now deliver care more accurately and more expediently.
If it has been a little while since you’ve visited your dentist, give him/her a call! There’s no better time to be a dental patient than right now.