21st century is the era of digitization and technological innovation. Advancements in technology have shown its wonders in every arena of our lives. From our living room to our kitchen, improvisations in technology have made our life simpler and easier. In this context, India has set a new benchmark in the domain of digitization by taking a step further in the dental world.
The dental clinic of our future will no longer resemble the small private practices that many people visit today. Dentists who are a part of the Millennial generation are approaching their practice in a manner that is distinctly different from their predecessors.
What is digital dentistry?
Digital dentistry is the replacement of traditional techniques with digital techniques for dental systems.
Digital dentistry is used in Wide variety of working areas that includes
- CAD/CAM and intra-oral imaging;
- Caries diagnosis
- Digital radiography
- Electric and surgical/embed hand pieces
- Computer- aided implant dentistry
- TMJ analysis and diagnosis
- Practice and patient record management
- Practice and patient record management including computerized patient training and Shade matching.
- Digital radiography
- Computer-aided implant dentistry
- Dental Photography — extra oral and intra-oral
- Cone Beam imaging
- Dental cone beam computed tomography (CT)
- 3D X-ray
In the last several years, increasing number of dentists in have started to use computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technologies extensively.
What is the process of CAD/CAM?
After taking a digital scan of the mouth using an intra-oral camera, a 3D image of the tooth appears on the screen. Based on the position, size and condition of the damaged tooth, computer suggests the ideal dimensions of the needed crown. The virtual restoration is then fine tuned digitally by Dentists and information is digitally sent to a “milling” machine that carves the crown out from ceramic block. It is then ready to be bonded to the patient’s tooth. The entire process takes less than two hours.
This process is commonly called the “same-day crown” or a “crown while you wait”, the procedure is one of the several advancements that reflect the advancement in Digital Dentistry.
Other than CAD/CAM, there are other digital processes opted by Dentists:
Digital radiography or X-rays – Compared to traditional film X-rays, these computer-generated images produce a clearer image and produce significantly less radiation.
Cone-beam computed tomography (CT) imaging – The dental equivalent of a medical CT scan, the X-ray rotates around the patient’s head capturing a 3-D view of the teeth, jaw, gum and nerves. The imaging can also identify possible tumors or any other diseases that goes unnoticed on traditional X-rays.
Digital dentures – Using computer design and digital manufacturing, they offer the convenience of a permanent digital record that can be duplicated easily if the original denture is lost or damaged.
These techniques have helped in detecting cavities and placing fillings, to place dental implants and for eliminating the need of scalpels, drills and sutures. This means less pain and trauma for the patient and often does not require anesthesia.
India has successfully taken a strong position in the field of technology and is now quickly adopting newer Technologies in various medical and Dental spheres.