Of all the modern technological advances in dentistry, few have been as revolutionary and useful as digital x-rays. They have reduced waiting times and treatment times and also made possible a new series of treatments that are changing modern dentistry.
Digital x-rays produce an immediate and three-dimensional image of the patient’s mouth and teeth onto a computer screen. This has replaced the old style traditional x-rays which produced two-dimensional black and white images. This ;also needed developing that could take up to several days depending on the number of patients.
Swindon dentists can now get an incredibly accurate image of the patient’s teeth almost immediately, which they can then use for further treatment. One of the newest methods of treatment is called Cerec. This allows dentists to produce dental restorations such as crowns, veneers and dental inlays in only one appointment. The process is able to work because of the images produced by the digital x-rays. The dentist can use this image to create a dental crown or veneer on the computer. When satisfied with the size and shape he can then utilise a computer-guided machine to sculpt the restoration from a single piece of porcelain. This takes as little as six minutes per tooth and represents an astonishing leap forward in dental technology.
Digital x-rays have not only improved the time of treatment but they have also improved its quality. The images available now are accurate to microscopic degrees. This has allowed treatments to become more accurate and means dentists no longer need to rely on clumsy and time-consuming dental moulds.
The boundaries around what is possible in dentistry are increasingly being pushed back as technology finds ways to improve treatment quality, shorten appointment times and find more efficient ways to deal with age-old dental problems. These technological advances have gathered momentum over the past two decades with treatments available now that could only have even been imagined thirty years ago.
These advances have impacted on every level of dentistry and it is useful to give a few examples to highlight the changes. Dental crowns are artificial caps that fit over damaged teeth to protect them from further damage. In the past, crowns were painstakingly manufactured in laboratories using a series of dental moulds and x-rays. Using a combination of metal and ceramics, the crowns were built up layer upon layer until they were the satisfactory shape. The dentist would then need to remove substantial amounts of natural enamel to allow the bulky crown to fit over the damaged tooth. Today’s technology means a crown can be sculpted from a single piece of porcelain in as little as six minutes. This has been made possible by the advent of digital x-rays and 3D imaging which allow the dentist to create an incredibly accurate and immediate image of the patient’s mouth. A computer-guided mill can then whittle the tooth to a similarly accurate degree. This technology can also be used in the manufacture of veneers and dental inlays.
Teeth whitening procedures have also developed significantly to be more effective and much safer and orthodontic straightening has seen a similar improvement. It is now possible to straighten teeth in a fraction of the time previously thought possible, and this can be achieved more discreetly and with less discomfort to the patient.
These are just a small selection of the incredible dental technologies available to all patients at Bristol dentists. Whatever the problem or dental concern there is a quick, affordable and aesthetically pleasing technology available to give you the best possible treatment.