Nine technologies that will shape the future of dentistry – The Medical Futurist
Nine new technologies from virtual reality through artificial intelligence (A.I.) to CRISPR are all set to revolutionise dentistry. They will not only have a huge impact on how dentistry will be practised but also on how patients will take care of themselves in the future.
A recent article from The Medical Futurist describes nine disruptive technologies. We are giving a snapshot of the original article.
1. Artificial intelligence
Already, dentists employ software to get insights into clinical decision making. These will develop further to integrate A.I. algorithms to enable clinicians to find the best modalities for their patients.
2. Smart toothbrush
Our home will be filled with connected, smart devices in the future, including our toothbrush. It will guide you the right way to get the best results.
3. Augmented Reality (AR)
AR paired with a mannequin on which students can perform procedures while receiving immediate feedback as their movements are tracked. This helps them identify faster where they should improve and develop their skills in the process.
4. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality (VR) is different from AR. It completely closes off the outside world with a dedicated headset and immerses the user in a virtual environment. On the patient side, VR might be the solution to our dentist’s office anxiety. By slipping such a headset on their head, patients can visualise a calming landscape while seated at the dreaded dentist’s chair to improve their experience. With a virtual reality camera, surgeons can stream operations globally and allow medical students to actually be there in the OR using their VR goggles.
Everyone has become accustomed to Teledentistry during the pandemic. The American Dental Association issued a policy on teledentistry that offers guidance on the modalities that such services can follow. This sets the pace in making teledentistry a norm in general practice.
6. Computer-assisted design and 3D-printing (CAD-CAM with 3D printing)
3D-printing does not need any introduction considering the buzz it generated in healthcare a while ago with the technology’s potential to print medicines, prosthetics and even organ replicas. Computer-assisted design (CAD) and computer-assisted manufacture (CAM), including 3D-printing, are already revolutionising the sector; they are turning them into low-cost, more effective digital labs. 3D printers are also able to produce orthodontic models, surgical guides, aligners, retainers and more dental equipment faster and precisely; tasks that would take longer with traditional methods. This helps in improving workflows, reducing error and the amount of labour needed, which ultimately endows the technology with time and cost-efficiency.
7. Intra-oral camera
The new intraoral cameras are revolutionary in that they are real “patient conversation starters.” The cameras’ unique liquid lens technology works like the human eye to ensure effortless image capture to deliver clear, detailed images patients can really understand.
8. Regenerative dentistry
Dental fillings that allow teeth to heal themselves, by stimulating stem cells to promote the growth of dentin. The field also includes new cell types and cell layers in teeth that can impact on tooth sensitivity.
CRISPR is a ground-breaking genome editing method whose immense potential the researchers have discovered only recently. We may soon use the technology to isolate and switch off oral cancer-associated genes. Also, we may use it to alter the functioning of bacteria responsible for plaque formation - thus reducing the risk of dental caries and periodontal disease.