Are you sick of spending a lot of time at the dentist? Are you wary of local anesthetic? If you haven't been to the dentist in awhile, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn of some new technological advances that will make dental procedures faster, more enjoyable, and less painful.
Bye Bye Drill
The next time you need a minor cavity filled, you may be able to skip the drill. Researchers are working on a procedure that utilizes low frequency electrical currents to remineralize teeth with modest tooth decay. Remineralization is the process where teeth repair themselves by replenishing the minerals that have been lost. These minerals can be found in saliva and fluoride. Electric currents are a painless way to move minerals back into teeth.
Radiography is often used to take pictures of a patient's teeth, bones, and soft tissue. However, digital x-rays have the following advantages over radiography:
- Efficiency: With a radiograph, the film has to be processed in order to see the images. However, digital x-rays involve putting an electronic sensor in the patient's mouth to take a picture. This image is then immediately sent to a computer. For this reason, the digital process is much quicker.
- Safety: During radiography, patients are exposed to low levels of radiation. Since there are always small risks involved with radiation, using digital x-rays significantly reduces your radiation exposure.
The use of lasers for dental procedures is becoming more common. Although the American Dental Association hasn't given a seal of acceptance to lasers, many patients prefer this option because it eliminates or reduces the use of drills and local anesthetics. Here are a few ways lasers are used at dental offices:
- Procedures dealing with gum tissue: During a root canal, lasers are utilized to reshape gums and take out bacteria. Lasers have also been used to remove extra gum tissue around an implant abutment: a metal piece which connects a dental implant to the replacement tooth. Using a laser can reduce the amount of bleeding and swelling with these types of treatments.
- Early cavity detection: Close to 100 percent of adults have cavities. Yet, early cavity detection could possibly reduce this statistic. Typically, dentists use an explorer tool to manually check for cavities. However, a new diode laser can detect decay in the grooves of your tooth's surface. X-rays would still be necessary to find cavities in-between teeth but this advancement could help with early detection at dental check-ups.
- Teeth whitening: Lasers use light energy to quickly whiten your teeth at the dentist's office. First, a peroxide bleaching solution is put onto the teeth. Then, a laser is used to activate the solution.
The next time you need a dental procedure, you can ask your dentist if any these high-tech options are available. For more information, contact Oral Surgery Associates Inc.