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What's Up Magazine

5 Dental Innovations Worth Smiling About

Jun 29, 2016 12:09PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

By Lisa J. Gotto

Today’s progressive dentistry—in all its disciplines—is an amazing mix of technological advancements, state-of-the-art materials, and highly specialized and trained professionals who are excited about the innovations they are now able to provide for patients.

Some local practitioners were also excited to participate in a survey we conducted to determine what they felt were the top five trends in their industry. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Same-Day Dentistry or New Teeth in a Day:

You have probably seen some TV commercials or social media posts about the latest advances that address missing and failing teeth. What used to take months and sometimes, even years to accomplish, can now be done in just one day. And the scope of same-day dental procedures can range anywhere from one crown to an entire new smile in one dayin some cases.
The implementation of the in-office dental lab is largely responsible for making one-day treatments possible. The labs offer on-site access to CAD/CAM machines and technology that work in conjunction with state-of-the-art dental materials.

Dr. Kian Djawdan of Djawdan Center for Implant & Restorative Dentistry in Annapolis says the addition of the in-office lab has been a game changer.

“Many dentists strive to do quality work, but are challenged with communication, consistency, control, and quality when working with an outside dental laboratory. In June of 2015, we established our own in-office dental lab with two of the world’s most advanced digital CAD/CAM systems, the Zirkonzahn’s M5 Heavy/Wet CAD/CAM system and CEREC by Sirona,” Dr. Djawdan explains.

Remember going in for a crown or inlay appointment and coming home with a temporary and another appointment? This doesn’t have to happen anymore with on-site labs.
CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) refers to computer software that is used to both design and manufacture products. CAD is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation.

 

2. Improved Implant & Other Materials

Another factor contributing to less time in the dental chair is the introduction of more durable materials like Zirconia. Made in a chemical process using zirconia sand, this material is said to be the strongest tooth-colored material used in modern implant dentistry, for teeth that look completely natural and wear much longer than previously used acrylics and older porcelains. It is also less porous so it is more stain resistant. Combine this material with the efficiency of in-office labs and you can see why beautiful new teeth in a day are becoming the norm.

The continued improvement in dental sealants also seems to be making lives better for dentist and their patients, especially the young ones.

“Dental composites and glass ionomer restorative materials keep getting better; however sealants still remain the most game-changing dental material,” says Dr. Nilda Collins of Collins, Bross & Associates Pediatric Dentistry in Annapolis.

Sealants can be especially helpful when it comes to kids and molars. Once applied, a sealant can help cut the risk of decay on these hard-to-reach back teeth by 80 percent.

3. Digital Developments:

Who hasn’t had this experience? Your teeth are in good shape and you have a healthy mouth, but your teeth just aren’t as white as they could be. So you go to the dentist and a whiten-at-home method is prescribed for optimal results. It sounds simple enough but you have to get past the procedure used to get molds of your teeth so the whitening trays can be made first. Having to sit and hold a tray full of the clammy, cold, gooey, paste-like substance dentists use to achieve these impressions is probably one of the least pleasant experiences you’ll encounter in the dental chair. Some patients definitely tolerate it better than others.

Enter the era of the digitally produced impressions created through the use of LED or light lasers that optically scan and record the soft surfaces of the teeth and its soft tissue. The data recorded can then be used to create a CAD file and from that a mold of the teeth can be made.

Digital advancements have done wonders in the field of pediatric dentistry, as well, says Dr. Margaret C. McGrath of Kent Island Pediatric Dentistry in Stevensville.

“Digital x-rays are a wonderful advancement and we use them daily in our office. They significantly reduce any radiation and simplify development, plus they are easier [when working with] young children,” Dr. McGrath explains. “Dentistry continues to come out with new advances to simplify and help make children’s experiences easier at the dentist.”

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What is AcceleDent?

It’s just the latest and most advanced teeth straightening technology in orthodontics. How does it work? Dr. Phil Philbin of Philbin & Reinheimer of Annapolis says AcceleDent is a hands-free device that uses SoftPulse Technology to accelerate results and reduce the discomfort of orthodontia. “It only requires 20 minutes per day,” adds Dr. Philbin. Learn more about this FDA-approved procedure at www.acceledent.com.

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4. Use of Social Media

It was only a matter of time before the world of social media caught up with modern day dentistry and today’s practitioners are using it for everything from appointment scheduling and reminding, to staff shout-outs and promotions.

“We utilize social media on a daily basis to interact with our followers about anything and everything…” says Dr. Scott Billings of Eastern Shore Dental Care of Kent Island.

“We have found that through Facebook, specifically, it’s a great way to attract new patients because we can quickly let them know about our services, what our latest specials are, and show them our fun personalities all while they’re doing what they always do—scrolling through their newsfeeds,” adds Dr. Billings.

Another neat way the practice is using their social connections is to reward followers. How about winning a 55-inch Smart TV? Eastern Shore Dental has done that—and posted a pic of the winner, of course, afterward.

“The whole idea is to make our followers feel like they know us so they are completely comfortable coming here for treatment.”

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80% of the dental professionals who responded to our survey, employ the use of at least one social media platform to better inform and engage patients.

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5. Improved TMJ Treatment

Beyond the teeth, dental professionals are also tasked with addressing conditions associated with the jaw, as well. According to The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)—a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) more than 10 million people in the United States alone suffer from problems associated with TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, at any given time.

“About a year and a half ago, we incorporated BOTOX® treatment to help patients suffering from TMJ symptoms,” says Dr. Merri Esposito of Chesapeake Dental Arts in Arnold. Dr. Esposito explains that a large portion of patients, approximately 95 percent, is actually suffering from muscle tension. When traditional methods of treatment such as night guards, over the counter anti-inflammatories, heating pads, soft diets, and others are not successful, BOTOX® injected directly into the muscles of the mouth we clench with, such as the temporalis and masseter, seems to do the trick. “Patients are reporting less headaches, jaw pain, and tooth sensitivity,” Dr. Esposito adds.

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