How Technology Is Transforming The Dental Industry

Technology is transforming all types of different industries, one of which is certainly the dental industry. From making everyday practice more cost efficient to ensuring procedures are as comfortable as possible for the patients, different types of technology over the last decade have truly flipped the switch on what people thought dentistry was. So, we’re going to introduce a few of the key transformations in the dental industry, to highlight just how significant the impact has been. 

5D Scanners

First up we have 5D scanners, a truly revolutionary piece of technology that highly benefits both dentists and patients. Rather than having to take actual moulds of the teeth using uncomfortable putty, the 5D scanning tool can simply be moved around the mouth and in real time, a full scan of the teeth, mouth and gums will appear on the screen. The results are much more effective, as well as comfortable. The scans can then be used to create retainers for a range of different treatments, as well as for before and after images to show patients exactly what their smile will look like after having different treatments. Overall, 5D scanners do require the initial investment, however for most practices, they will more than make up for it over time. They can also be used in close conjunction with 3D printers, discussed in more detail below.

Virtual Consultations 

Although video call technology has been around for years, over the last few years particularly throughout Covid, many more dentists started utilising this technology for virtual consultations. This type of consultation obviously doesn’t replace a full consultation where oral health exams are required, however, it can be an extremely helpful tool. 

Firstly, it can save a huge amount of time. It takes quite a lot of resources to have someone come into the practice for a very initial consultation and discussion about what they might want. If you notice that quite a few of these consultations don’t convert into patients, then virtual ones can help to cut the time and resources used to sift out the potential patients who decide not to have a treatment. Also, for patients who are very busy, fitting in a quick call to help convert them into a patient, rather than multiple in-practice consultations, could help to significantly improve your revenue. Additionally, this could be a big benefit for nervous patients who want to have a chat with your dentists before actually coming in. 

Overall, it will cost you next to nothing to get this set up, and it provides another option for your patients to interact. 

3D Printing

3D printing is another type of technology that has helped to transform the dental industry. When used alongside the 5D scanner, it has never been more simple to create highly accurate models of a patient’s teeth, which can then be utilised to create dental implants, dental bridges and veneers. They’re particularly useful for dentists across the world doing teeth straightening, from London to Lisbon and Leamington Spa orthodontics, seamlessly creating retainers that fit to perfection. Often this saves money, which means the savings can be passed onto patients and therefore pushes your practice ahead of the competition. Again, this can be an expensive investment, but certainly worthwhile for larger dental practices, particularly those with a focus on cosmetic dentistry. AI

AI has been all over the news in the last few years and it is beginning to have an impact on dentistry, too. The main way this is occurring currently is that some AI technology is able to look at x-rays and CT scans, to either identify abnormalities or to help dentists make more informed decisions about the correct treatment plans. Of course, this is unlikely to ever be the only thing that dentists rely on and will always utilise their own expertise, however the fact that this technology can pick up on very slight occurrences within scans to provide a second opinion for dentists is pretty incredible and will help dentists to fine tune their work. For example, in a study, it was found that AI had successfully identified 97.6% of dental restorations on x-rays! Rather than replacing the need for a dentist, AI is helping to complement their work to provide more efficient care. 

Final Thoughts

The dental industry and technology have come a long way over the last decade, making the process much more efficient, and cost effective, for both patients and dentists. With the more recent changes in terms of AI and 3D printing, it’s exciting to see where the industry is going to progress next.