Technology is the buzz-word of the day, and new applications are cropping up everywhere, even in the dental field. In an industry that has traditionally been dominated by slow moving technological advances; recent years have seen an explosion in new tech applications for dentistry.
Blockchain Technology for Dentists
Information and client record control has seen substantial changes through recent developments in blockchain technology. New companies, like the startup DentaCoin, are now using blockchain to offer ways for customers to profit from things they do everyday in dental offices.
Dentists crave honest feedback in order to expand their practices. DentaCoin has developed a system that allows clients to provide feedback, and in return, get credit for future services or products.
The system is based on blockchain technology (the new ‘in’ tech thing) and creates an immutable database for clients to offer feedback. In exchange, clients receive ‘DentaCoins’ (DCN), which can be used for treatment and services. Through the interaction of dentists and patients, the company has created a distributed insurance system where dentists and clients are mutually benefited.
The company is also offering it’s DentaCoins for sale in an ICO (initial coin offering – think digital crowdfunding) where new clients can buy the coins and, in turn, use them for dental care. The whole system is designed to disrupt the way dental insurance and care has been traditionally practiced.
3D Printing for Models
Kids everywhere have learned to hate the moment when the bubblegum-flavored ooze is smashed into their mouths to create a mold of their teeth. However, a recent development companies use 3D printing for tooth models.
The system scans the patient’s teeth and then loads the data into a 3D printer interface which then ‘prints’ the model of the teeth. The model is exact, just like a traditional mold would be, but requires less invasive practices.
Further, the model can be printed in a short time, meaning that dentists and orthodontists can provide service turnaround times that are far faster than traditional lab methods. As the service times decrease, profitability and scheduling simplicity increase.
The system can also be used to create denture bases and even drill guides, both of which have traditionally taken lengthy periods of time. The technology is making the lives of patients and dentists easier and faster.
Laser Detection Systems
A recent advancement in cavity detection is coming from an unlikely source: lasers. Lasers are able to show points of decay well before traditional X-ray methods (93% vs. 27%) because of the precision of the laser instruments.
The technology provides a system for dentists to be able to address points tooth decay (caries in dental parlance) before they even gets going. Preventative care can maintain tooth health and protect teeth before the teeth need fillings, or worse.
The system is also far less invasive than the traditional drilling and searching post X-ray. Patients are able to simply wait in the chair as the dentist scans their teeth, revealing weak points where preventive care is needed. Routine checkups would greatly reduce the numbers of fillings for patients.
A Changing Scene
From block-chain technology, to lasers for detecting tooth decay, the dental industry is embracing new solutions to old problems. The dental scene is changing and patients are starting to expect less invasive and more preventative care from their dentists.
Dentists who start to embrace these new technologies will continue to thrive, while those unwilling to change may well stagnate.