Brush, Floss, Program?

Photo of brush floss teeth xray Locate A DocComputers have played a critical role in the medical world in the last 50 years, assisting in every aspect of the practice from surgery to lab tests to hospital organization. Thus, it should be no surprise that computers are making big waves in dentistry as well. Computer Assisted Dentistry (CAD) and Computer Assisted Molding (CAM) are innovative new practices that make your experience far more convenient and comfortable.

CAD allows dentists to streamline the process of inserting crowns, veneers, fillings, and bridges by creating them in the office instead of taking an old-fashion and uncomfortable bite mold and sending them out to an external office to be made. Instead, a dentist uses a wand that takes high tech digital images to create a virtual mold of the problem tooth. They then use that image to design the necessary piece on the computer and send it to an in house milling machine. This machine forms the piece from porcelain that matches the color of the patient’s teeth. What used to take two weeks can now be done in about an hour.

CAD/CAM still has serious drawbacks. The sensor on the photo wand is not strong enough to see beneath the gumline. This means bite molds are still necessary for damage that extends into the gums. Additionally, the milling machine is not as precise as a mold maker and cannot reproduce the details of a front tooth. Thus, front teeth must still be replaced using molds.

Still, one would expect that these technologies will be further honed in the near future. If they are, having Computer Assisted Dentistry and Molding machines would become more popular and we might see them in more offices around the country.

Check out our additional articles and resources around dentistry and dental procedures.

Further Reading

  • Dr. Nick Mohindra, a London dentist, has invented a plastic mouthguard called the Oralift that’s designed to help patients look younger by sculpting the facial tissues and increasing the strength of the jawline and facial muscles. The Oralift mouthguard is placed in a microwave to soften the plastic and then fitted to the lower teeth. The mouthguard helps to prevent the grinding of teeth and also helps to stretch the freeway space between the back teeth so that the facial muscles become stronger.

  • If you’ve been to the dentist lately and picked up a tooth whitening kit, make sure you’re aware of the downsides of bleaching your teeth.A recent study shows that many people actually lose some of their tooth enamel after using home teeth-whitening kits for a significant period of time.The chemicals in the tooth whitening products can actually break down the enamel and cause more damage to the teeth.

  • Gum disease and inflammation around the teeth and gums can trigger a number of health problems, and lead to tooth decay and yellowing teeth.