Imagine having your tooth extracted with zero anesthesia as you’re held in place with restraints. Imagine your dentist stuffing his ears with cotton to drown out your screams. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Well, that was the reality for dental patients back in the day before anesthesia was invented. Having a blacksmith yank out a tooth with a pair of pliers (with no dental expertise, mind you!) was also a fact.
Fortunately, we’ve come a very long way in dentistry and many of the procedures that we undergo today are painless. Thanks to anesthesia, better equipment, advanced knowledge, and skilled dentists, you can get a tooth extraction or a root canal done in the time it takes you to have lunch. And with little to no pain! This means you don’t need to bear the awkwardness of walking around with a gap in your teeth but can show off your new tooth in no time.
In fact, so effective has painless dentistry become that if a procedure is indeed painful, it’s largely due to the fault of the dentist. They may not be skilled enough or may not have access to proper equipment.
What Makes Modern Dentistry So Painless?
This blissful painlessness that we can now enjoy is all thanks to advancements in technology and dentistry over the past quarter of a century. Many of these advancements also produce much better results. Here are a few of them.
Clear aligners: Metal braces work wonders to correct misaligned teeth. But there’s no denying that they aren’t exactly the most attractive. Enter clear aligners or Invisalign, which are removable clear plastic aligners that correct teeth without the need for metal brackets and wires.
Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP): Up until now, periodontitis or gum disease could only be treated with gum surgery that involved physically touching the affected area. But with LANAP, the procedure is far less painful and has a high success rate. Using laser, it targets the affected area without touching the surrounding healthy tissues. It also kills bacteria in the mouth to speed up healing.
Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation: Before today, treating receding gums involved removing tissue from the roof of the mouth and grafting it to the affected area. The procedure was and is painful. With Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation, receding gums can be treated quickly and painlessly. The minimally invasive technique involves creating a pinhole in the receding tissue after which a device is inserted to stretch the gum and pull it downward. Then, collagen strips are inserted into the pinhole to keep the gum in place.
Implant technology: In the past, patients had to make multiple visits to the dentist to get their teeth replaced. Not only was the wait a pain but it meant spending more on transport, which added to overall costs. Today, dental implant technology can see teeth fixed even in a single sitting!
PreXion 3D Scanner: This advanced imaging technology gives dentists a 3D view of a patient’s problem area so that they can diagnose and treat the issue better. For instance, because it’s so precise, dentists can make sure that dental implants are perfectly placed.
Solea Laser: The Solea Laser has been designed to let dentists treat their patients quickly and with pain- free results. It can cut hard and soft tissue as well as bone in a single sitting to save time and money. A benefit for both dentists and patients!
What Does the Future Hold?
Seeing as how we’ve come so far in the past two decades, we can definitely expect to see more exciting advancements in the future!
Some of these could include:
Using AI to make accurate diagnoses
While skilled dentists do make very accurate diagnoses, artificial intelligence (AI) will minimize human error to a tiny margin by training on past data. Dentists will be able to identify problems using AI and be able to prescribe the exact treatment their patients need. They’ll also be able to provide personalized care to individual patients so that they can have a much better success rate.
Genome editing for better oral health
CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is an advanced gene-editing tool that can help identify the genes that cause dental caries and even oral cancer and remove, add or edit parts of the DNA sequence. The technology is already creating a big buzz as it’s fast, accurate, and cheaper than other ways of editing DNA.
We’re still a long way from making this a reality but wouldn’t it be amazing to not have to get cavities filled repeatedly? Futurists believe that self-healing teeth could one day become a reality. In fact, researchers at King’s College London have already tried it on mice! How? By using drug-soaked sponges to help teeth create more dentin – the bony tissue that forms the bulk of teeth.
These are exciting times we’re living in! With all these technologies around – and many more to come in the future – dentistry is constantly evolving to become better. At Dental Bee, we’re doing our part to deliver the best care to our patients by taking care delivery to the next level. We take it right to their doorstep during these pandemic times so that they don’t have to step out and risk their safety.