How Has Dentistry Changed in The Last 25 years
Changes in Dentistry
There have been enormous changes in dentistry over the millennia. If you’ve ever neglected to visit your dentist because you’re afraid of needles, just consider 13,000 years ago some poor Italian in Tuscany had his incisors drilled out with sharpened rocks and filled with a mixture of hair, vegetable fibers bitumen. If that isn’t horrific enough, anesthesia didn’t exist at that time either.
As technology has advanced, so have dentistry treatments and equipment. At The Tooth Doctor, we do our best to stay abreast of the latest technology and treatments to ensure our patients get the best available care. We want you to always leave our office smiling.
Think of a World Without Fillings
Some exciting research is being done around the use of stem cells to accelerate the tooth’s natural dentine production. Dentine is a reparative substance that protects the inner tooth from external exposure. The result being that teeth would no longer need artificial fillings which over time may need replacement, weakening the tooth, resulting in extraction.
Still, in clinical trials, you shouldn’t expect to see this treatment pop up in your dentist’s office any time soon. However, it’s very exciting to see the strides taking place through research and technology.
An Ounce of Prevention
The colloquialism still rings true and is especially evident seeing the paradigm shift in modern dentistry from reactive care to preventive. Rather than taking the reactive approach where the dentist would find and repair problems after the fact, there has been a shift towards fixing the issue before one exists.
The reason for this new approach to dentistry is that dentists have more information from studying the causes of dental problems. Because there is more knowledge of how dental disease occurs, dentists can educate patients and perform preventive treatments for better oral health.
One example is regular flossing. A study from 2008 found that flossing regularly, significantly decreases one’s chances of developing gum disease. With scientific data, dentists can educate their patients on preventing periodontitis with regular flossing.
Everyone Loves a Bright, White Smile
Tooth whitening 25 years ago was a luxury available only to a select few that could afford the treatment. Whitening involved rubber dams, chemicals, lights and a considerable amount of discomfort. Tray whitening made the treatment more manageable for the dentist and patient, allowing it to be done at home. Today there are several treatments ranging from lasers, to over the counter whitening trays making it simple for anyone to achieve a more attractive smile.
The first electric toothbrush was introduced in the 1960s. The goal was to help patients remove more plaque, resulting in healthier teeth and gums. As with any new technology, the early models were expensive and out of reach of most consumers.
Today you can find a wide range of electric toothbrushes from inexpensive battery powered models to deluxe rechargeable systems with a variety of available attachments.
Electric toothbrushes have improved greatly with the introduction of the oscillating and rotating bristlehead, removing more plaque than earlier renditions.
New Restorative Materials
The go-to method of crown restoration for decades was PFM or porcelain-fused-to-metal. PFM crowns are very strong, and the porcelain veneer offers a tooth-like appearance. Concerns around metal irritation and high cost caused the dental industry to find alternatives.
Zirconia crowns have become a more popular alternative to PFM. When first introduced, dentists didn’t jump on the zirconia train because they preferred the aesthetics of PFM. Today, zirconia crowns are almost indiscernible to natural teeth and are stronger than most ceramic alternatives, not to mention more affordable.
There have been many changes to dentistry and there will be many more in the years and decades ahead. What remains the same is proper dental hygiene which includes brushing and flossing and regular check-ups. Call us at any of our dental offices:
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