For many patients, the less time in the dental chair, the better. Advancements in dental technology are shortening the time of visits while increasing the comfort and accuracy of procedures and treatments.
Digital dental X-rays and screenings are becoming the norm. “Our office is fully digital, so patients receive less radiation, and it is easier to send the images to specialists and patients,” says Emilio Canal Jr. of the Dental Group at Reston Station. “We also use digital cameras so patients can see exactly what we see.” Canal also praises the use of dental implants. “It’s the best way to replace missing teeth, where before we had to treat with bridges.”
Uppasna Chand of Smile Reston Heights and McLean Family Dentistry says her office relies on digital scans to prepare for crowns, which means no more messy impression materials. “The results are more accurate, with the crowns we receive fitting much better,” says Chand. Nationwide, some dentists are starting to take this a step further, creating crowns and prosthetics in-office using 3D printers to be installed in the patient’s mouth the same day.
Other advancements include air abrasion or laser treatments as alternatives to traditional drills. “No more vibrations or uncomfortable sounds,” says Norachai Eddy Phisuthikul, a periodontist at Prestige Dental Specialists. In the future, dentists may be able to regenerate, rather than repair, our teeth. “There are some promising studies that show some regeneration, but we are still far away from using this on humans,” says Chand.