Teledentistry, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing are all transforming the way dentists practice.
Fremont, CA: While everyone benefits from routine dental examinations, the American Dental Association (ADA) reports that more than 20 percent of patients have not seen a dentist in the last few years. 59 percent say they are unable to afford routine visits, while 22 percent express anxiety about dental treatment and 19 percent have difficulty finding a convenient site or time.
Pandemic pressures and evolving patient preferences, on the other hand, have accelerated the development of new dental technology solutions that enable dentists to provide better care and build stronger relationships with their patients.
Technologies that are changing the dentistry landscape:
Dental offices, like many other medical facilities, were compelled to close for general care during the early days of COVID-19. While the majority of offices have reopened, more than half report lower patient loads compared to pre-pandemic levels. Teledentistry can assist in bridging the divide. According to a recent review, teledentistry can help patients cope with travel-related stress, particularly those who lack access to a reliable vehicle or must travel long distances to receive dental care. Teledentistry tools can also assist in determining whether an emergency exists and whether an immediate visit to the dentist is necessary, or whether a patient can wait until their next check-up.
Virtual reality is another emerging dental technology that has the potential to improve practitioners' patient care. Virtual or augmented reality (AR) in a dental practice setting could take the form of headsets worn by patients to give digital distractions. In many ways, it is an extension of the function now served by ceiling-mounted televisions in dental offices, which provide a distraction for patients. VR is also utilized in training to allow dentistry students to simulate dental treatments digitally, according to Lappage. This is especially beneficial for emergency conditions that arise infrequently but require specialized knowledge to treat.
Artificial intelligence algorithms are currently more accurate than dentists in diagnosing dental decay from bitewing and peripheral radiographs, which makes sense: Artificial intelligence algorithms are educated on billions of data points to make choices based on available information, giving them an advantage over humans when it comes to diagnosing specific illnesses. There is a real-world use for AI in detecting aberrant structures, diagnosing them, and recommending therapies. Finally, dentists are human. AI operates as a second set of eyes, confirming its findings.