PLANTATION, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#DentalPlans–Self-correcting smiles, virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence, dental chairs that diagnose and new ways to battle oral bacteria – dental technology is evolving at a rapid pace. While some of our predictions may not happen in the first year of the new decade, all are based on technologies that are available now and are (probably) coming soon to a dental office near you.
4D Printing: 4D printing enables printed items to change shape or configure themselves according to set parameters and a stimulus such as water, light or electrical current. Possible suggested usages by the MIT Self Assembly Lab include shoes that reshape themselves to your feet, or clothing that responds to the weather. In dental care, this technology might be used to easily and quickly adjust crowns, bridges or dentures to align with changes in the bone structure rather than having to create an entirely new dental appliance. And, using self-programmable materials, dentists might be able to customize replacements for missing or damaged teeth more quickly and precisely – and, as the technology moves to the mainstream eventually, less expensively.
Artificial Intelligence Assistants: No, human dental assistants won’t be replaced. But dentists are likely to include AI assistants as virtual staff members, especially for diagnostic tasks such as reviewing X-ray and 3D images. With the ability to spot patterns in huge data sets, AI assistants can locate issues – such as developing cavities undetectable to human eyes or the very first symptoms of dental disease – with amazing accuracy. And AI will also happily handle chores that are dull and repetitive.
Super Smart Chairs: AI assistants may also be embedded into dental chairs and other office equipment, gathering and analyzing data, comparing previous records from the patient with new information, suggesting issues to pay attention to, reminding the dental professional of the patient’s treatment history and perhaps genetic data, and acting as a sort of adjunct brain for the dentist or hygienist.
Lights, Camera, Smile: Keeping mouths open wide is uncomfortable for many patients. Thankfully, intraoral cameras may make this a thing of the past. A tiny camera on a probe or dental mirror can be used to capture images inside the patient’s mouth, with no sore jaws following the procedure.
Winning the Bacteria Battle: New research from the University of Toronto suggests that cavities as well as the failure of dental fillings may be caused by a battle between our immune systems and oral bacteria. When exposed to immune cells known as neutrophils, oral bacteria seems to release an acidic substance in self-defense. This may damage teeth and the resin used in artificial fillings. Thankfully, the more we know about the causes of dental decay and disease, the better dental professionals can protect our smiles. For example, resins could be treated specifically to ward off damage from bacterial defenses.
New virtual worlds: Exploring virtual reality spaces may become something to enjoy at the dentist’s office, as 3D scenarios can help reduce mild discomfort and anxiety simply by distracting patients. Gamers shouldn’t get too excited though. People won’t, for safety reasons, be battling the digital dental decay orcs while getting their teeth cleaned. You need to sit still, folks.
“Technology that promises new ways to help people maintain their oral health is important,” says Jenn Stoll, Chief Commercial Officer at DentalPlans.com. “And DentalPlans.com will continue to offer innovative solutions, like dental savings plans, allowing consumers to take control of their oral and overall health without breaking the bank.”
Members of dental savings plans – an affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance – can save 10-60% on their dental care at over 100,000 participating dentists and dental specialists nationwide. This includes savings on routine care, as well as restorative treatments such as crowns, root canals, dentures, dental implants, braces – even cosmetic dental care. And while insurance has waiting periods, pre-existing conditions, annual maximums and deductibles, dental savings plans do not. Find out more about dental savings plans on DentalPlans.com.
DentalPlans.com, founded in 1999, is a leading dental and health savings online marketplace in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives. www.dentalplans.com.
Nicollette Saroop, Marketing Coordinator