Posted on: 9 June 2015
Dental technologies and techniques have been developing at a rapid pace in recent years. And while most people would agree that's a good thing, it also means that many still aren't aware of all of the treatment options now available. If you would like to increase your knowledge of modern dental services and trends, read on. This article will introduce you to two cutting edge techniques and technologies.
CAD/CAM--an acronym standing for computer-aided design/manufacturing--is a technology that has been used for many years as a way to build tools and components in the manufacturing industry. More recently, however, it has also been incorporated into dentistry as a way to generate sophisticated models of teeth.
Traditionally, in order to create such dental prosthetics as bridges, crowns and veneers, a physical mold of the tooth had to be made. This mold was then sent off-site to a laboratory, where it was used to generate the prosthesis itself. Unfortunately, this system meant that making the leap from diagnosis to implementation could take weeks.
With CAD/CAM, on the other hand, a scanning device--essentially a miniature camera--is used to make a three dimensional image of the damaged teeth. Not only that, but in many cases, the porcelain prosthesis can be created on-site in as little as 15 minutes, using a special milling machine. This means that the entire process can take place over the course of a single visit.
2. Air Abrasion
Traditionally, when preparing teeth for fillings, dentists have used drills in order to remove decayed portions of teeth. Unfortunately, this technique is not only painful, but it also carries a risk of chipping or fracturing the surrounding areas of the tooth. Air abrasion is a newer technique which achieves the same aim with fewer of the risks.
Much like a miniature sandblaster, air abrasion uses a stream of tiny particles to blast away decay. Unlike drilling, air abrasion is much less painful, meaning that anesthesia may not be needed. Likewise, air abrasion is able to remove decayed portions of teeth with a much greater degree of control and finesse. In other words, a greater portion of the tooth's surface is left untouched, and the risk of unintentional damage is much lower.
However, air abrasion is not a suitable option in all cases. It is generally recommended only for early stage cavities--those that are still relatively close to the surface of the teeth. Likewise, air abrasion is unable to remove enamel. Therefore, if the decay lies beneath hard enamel, a traditional drill will be required to permit access.