Digital Dentistry

Technology has come up with modern, state-of-the-art equipment that leads to increased efficiency and productivity in our daily lives. In the field of healthcare, dentistry has evolved from age-old texts. It implied that 'tooth worms' were a cause of tooth decay to digitized dentistry that uses CAD/CAM technology. It allows high-quality restoration of teeth, which provides not only functional but also aesthetic satisfaction to the patient. It involves replacing the old with the new and coming up with better techniques and equipment to give faster and more accurate results. This technology has been used in dentistry increasingly in the 21st century, with a focus on prosthodontics-related procedures. Research in this field has successfully aided in many dental practices and has decreased treatment time, minimized error, provided better quality assurance and oral health preservation.

Many such benefits of digitized dentistry include:

Decreased treatment time

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Digital dentistry has a direct impact on healthcare and clinical practice. It leads to increased accuracy and decreased time duration as well as less room for human error. It involves the use of computer-controlled equipment for both clinical and administrative purposes. The use of digital dentistry in clinical practice includes digital radiographs, digital shade matching, prosthetic fabrication, rapid prototyping, virtual articulators, and many other emerging methods. The use of CAD/CAM technology and 3D printing creates a replica of the patient's teeth. The software can develop modifications and changes in the very same model, which increases time efficiency and leads to fewer errors. Since these methods cause an increased amount of predictability in treatment, the patient can have less number of sittings. According to the Journal of Indian Prosthodontics Society, if CAD/CAM technologies continue to evolve at the same rate they do, single sitting restorations might soon be a possibility.

Decreased cost

Digital radiography provides nuclear, magnetic, and cone beam imaging of dental procedure, which helps in creating lighter metal alloys for cavities, thereby reducing operating costs. More efficient and faster computers cause rapid data processing for physiological assessment, which reduces the cost of the procedure as well. The use of computers and database technologies decreases administrative tasks and causes effective time management, and filing procedures become easier for the staff. Digital dentistry also helps dentists in avoiding invasive procedures, and a sedation dentist helps patients to feel minimal pain through a computer-assisted anesthesia system so that there is no discomfort to the patient and allow pre-operative assessment of the implant procedure for the patient.

Oral health preservation

The use of digital dentistry could lead to increased longevity of oral health. Digital X-rays are a diagnostic aid and lead to an accurate assessment of the condition, which leads to better treatment plan ultimately, better oral care. Many such methods of detecting tooth disorders are better than the traditional methods of diagnosing a patient. Digitized radiograph leads to early diagnosis of dental caries, especially at the initial stages, which ensure that the infection does not spread and affect the rest of the gums. Digitized images allow us to view implant procedures as well as see the progress of a patient post-treatment, which ensures that the patient is healing and no complications occur. Accurate imaging leads to decreased exposure to laser or radiation for the patient. Radiovisiography involves the use of colored images and viewing them on a computer. It helps the dentist and the rest of their team to be able to accurately assess the condition, analyze all facets of the procedure before using invasive treatments, and treat the patient accordingly.

Improves dentist-patient interaction

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Aesthetic treatment of the teeth is now much easier for both the dentist and the patient. Dental photography and software allow the patient to see the post-treatment look and changes in structure, form, and color of teeth and mouth. Changes caused by aging in bone structure, jaw placement, malocclusions, etc can be viewed and prevented through various software technologies.

Software like Adobe Photoshop can help in the detection of caries, tooth decay, etc following a dental procedure that can help in the assessment and better oral care of the patient. The dentist is now aware of the patient's needs and can ensure that they are getting the treatment for the results they want. This helps reduce patient fear and creates trust and understanding between the dentist and the patient which saves time and is helpful for better treatment.

Better dental research

dentist-patient interaction
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Digital dentistry not only provides benefits to the patients but also to the people developing these tools to treat patients better. New developments and methods that have been recently incorporated in dentistry have led to a far more efficient assessment and treatment of patients, and have exponentially improved the practice of modern-day dentistry. Computer software, online web-based studies, and surveys have greatly assisted in the research of dental practices. The use of CorelDraw and Adobe PhotoShop has to lead to a better imaging of teeth, and this 3D technique has lead to far greater accuracy than the previous traditional methods of measurement. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) has helped in designing better dental implants, keeping the materials used and their respective properties in mind. The CAD/CAM software has been used to design dentures which are more efficient than traditional manually made ones. Systems like T-scan have helped in monitoring and detecting occlusal conditions after treatment of a patient which helps in the better clinical evaluation of the patient.