Ask The Warrior Dentist - What's New In Dental Care?Ask The Warrior Dentist - What's New In Dental Care?

The field of dentistry has rapidly advanced within the past couple of decades, taking full advantage of technologies including those facilitated by computer enhancements, laser beam science, and new innovations and inventions. The big beneficiary is the dental patient, of course, because as dentistry makes forward strides the steps taken to improve dental procedures translate into less pain and discomfort for patients, faster healing, and more options for preventing disease or replacing or repairing teeth and gums.

One new tool is the dental care industry is a simple one that you may have already experienced at your dentist's office. Although it is rather simple, though, the new air abrasion style drill offers highly sophisticated results. Air abrasion is an alternative to the old-fashioned high speed dental drill that instead shoots a concentrated spray of air that contains tiny particles of powdery grit. The patient feels none of the shock waves that are felt when a traditional drill buzzes against a tooth and vibrates against it, and the air abrasion drill does not have a metallic burning smell. The abrasion method is very good for treating decay that is in the initial stages, like small cavities, and it can also be safely and effectively used with little or no anesthetic medicine or painkiller.

When your dentist wants to get an even more concentrated tool in hand to remove decay, he or she can now grab a handy dental laser. These remarkable devices concentrate an intense beam of light - a laser not unlike those seen in sci-fi movies - and when that laser beam is focused decay it can remove it quickly, precisely, and without unnecessary discomfort. These dental lasers can also be very useful in the treatment of periodontal disease or gum disease, because they can be targeted against infected tissues to kill infection and remove damaged tissue without endangering healthy tissue that is in the same vicinity.
Of course spotting dental problems like decayed teeth is made much easier with the help of the X-ray, and new computer-driven X-ray technology makes it easier to take X-rays, store and transfer the images, and enlarge them or print them out for easier viewing and analysis. The dentist can do X-rays and then process them almost immediately, which saves time and lets you get the results right away instead of having to wait for conventional X-ray film to be developed.

There are also new types of dental cameras on the market that let dentists photograph the inside of your mouth and then put the images on a computer monitor screen right in front of the patient. The dentist of dental hygienist can use these photos to explain procedures or point out problem areas (or healthy areas) in the teeth and gums, and they can also leave the photos on display there to help guide them as they perform cleaning or other treatments.

One of the best new items in dental care is robotic devices that skillfully and precisely carve replacement teeth or crowns. Dentists used to have to send out to special dental sculpting labs to have crowns made, for example, but now they can have these made in their offices within an hour or so by a robotic machine. The crowns made are much more precise so they fit better and require less polishing and fitting, which makes life much easier and less expensive for the patient.
by Dr. Susan Wells
References and Bibliography
Dr. Susan Wells DMD has been a warrior dentist practicing dentistry in Warrior, Alabama since 1978.  She treats patients for all aspects of general dentistry including preventive dental care oral hygiene instruction and full scale exams and cleanings. To find out more visit her site at
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