Advances in technology within the field of dentistry equip practitioners with a wider arsenal of remedies and techniques which can be utilized to simplify procedures and provide patients with several choices in which they can pursue desired treatment options. Through the Stony Brook pre-dental society, I have been fortunate enough to learn about several of these new technologies which benefit not only the dentists but patients as well. The innovative systems which will be the focus of this article include CAD/CAM imaging devices and the Wand anesthesia applicator. Both of these examples offer several advantages over their traditional counterparts and allow Dentists to simplify routine procedures and alleviate patient anxiety.
CAD/CAM imaging techniques are by definition, computer-aided design and computer –aided manufacturing techniques, which utilize digital technologies to produce three dimensional models and products (Beuer, 2008). These devices utilize digitization scanners which convert the geometrical dimensions of a patient’s teeth and oral cavity into a digital data set which can be processed by computers to create 3D impressions. This offers an advantage to dentists who have access to this technology because practitioners can avoid creating physical impressions which is time consuming and potentially uncomfortable for patients (Beuer, 2008). Another advantage which is allotted with CAD/CAM techniques is chair-side production of dental products. When digital scanning and processing software is coupled with computer-aided manufacturing systems dental products can be synthesized directly within individual dental practices. This circumvents costly and time consuming laboratory production of products and potentially allows patients to receive fabricated restorations within a single appointment (Beuer, 2008).
The Wand anesthesia applicator is another innovative digital technology which can be utilized to sidestep widely feared and abhorred dental syringes and conventional anesthetic techniques. The Wand, also known as the STA or single tooth anesthesia system, utilizes a dynamic pressure-sensing technology to monitor exit pressures of local anesthetic solutions in real time (Dubey, 2014). This is useful to dentists because it can help determine ideal needle placement for PDL injections and alerts the user if any leakage occurs due to improper needle placement (Dubey, 2014). The computerized delivery system also allows the user to control injection rates while maintaining ideal local anesthetic pressures which minimizes tissue damage and results in a more comfortable injection for patients (Dubey, 2014). Single tooth-anesthesia systems also offer a psychological advantage for patients who experience high levels of dental related anxiety. This is achieved by eliminating visual stimulus driven fear that is commonly associated with seeing large needles and syringes (Dubey, 2014). The wand is a small pen sized needle which visually appears to be much more begin then traditional syringes and has proved to be especially efficient during the treatment of children (Dubey, 2014).
In an effort to offer patients the most efficient and comfortable treatment options dentists and researchers alike continue to develop sophisticated technological systems which strive to mitigate the shortcomings of traditional instruments. This is a truly fascinating pursuit within the dental community and allows practitioners to not only cut their own overhead costs but also provide the best care possible to their patients. If you found this topic and article interesting I strongly encourage you to join us at the Stony Brook pre-dental society! We are fortunate enough to be in close proximity to our very own dental school were experts in the field offer hands on opportunities to learn about these marvelous technologies and techniques.
Beuer, F., et al. “Digital Dentistry: an Overview of Recent Developments for CAD/CAM Generated Restorations.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 10 May 2008, www.nature.com/bdj/journal/v204/n9/full/sj.bdj.2008.350.html?foxtrotcallback=true.
Dubey, A., et al. “The Wand: A Mini Review of an Advanced Technique for Local Anesthesia Delivery in Dentistry.” The Wand: A Mini Review of an Advanced Technique for Local Anesthesia Delivery in Dentistry, 15 Feb. 2014, www.imedpub.com/articles/the-wand-a-mini-review-of-an-advanced-technique-for-local-anesthesia-delivery-in-dentistry.pdf.