What technology is used in dentistry?

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The dental profession has witnessed immense transformations over the years. Historically marked by rudimentary handpieces and basic instruments, today’s dental clinics resemble a sophisticated blend of medicine and technology. If you are a dental professional or a keen enthusiast interested in the technical advancements revolutionising our field, this blog post should pique your interest.

Harnessing the Power of Digital Imaging

Gone are the days of film-based radiographs. Today, digital X-rays offer better precision, lower radiation exposure, and immediate viewing capabilities. Advanced imaging technology such as Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) further enhances this by providing a 3D view of the oral cavity, helping us make more accurate diagnoses and precise treatment plans.

The Revolution of CAD/CAM

The introduction of Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology has reshaped our profession, enabling the creation of customised restorations on the same day of the visit. Utilising an intraoral scanner to capture a digital impression of the patient’s mouth, the CAD/CAM software allows the dentist to design the restoration digitally before it is milled out of a ceramic block using an in-house milling unit. This eliminates the need for temporary restorations and follow-up appointments, improving both efficiency and patient experience.

Unravelling the Potential of 3D Printing

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has made significant inroads into dentistry, supplementing CAD/CAM technology. It enables the production of surgical guides, aligners, and even complex dental models, ensuring accuracy and convenience. With its ability to reduce turnaround times and cost-effectively produce personalised instruments, 3D printing is set to revolutionise dental practices further.

Laser Dentistry: An Exemplar of Precision

The introduction of lasers has transformed various dental procedures, ranging from cavity preparation to soft tissue surgeries and teeth whitening. The pinpoint accuracy of lasers minimises the discomfort and trauma associated with traditional handpieces, contributing to faster healing times and improved patient comfort. Moreover, laser dentistry can often be performed without the need for local anaesthesia, making it an appealing option for anxious patients.

The Impact of AI and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have started making their presence felt in dentistry. From automating administrative tasks to identifying patterns in radiographs that might be overlooked by the human eye, these technologies promise a future where diagnosis becomes quicker and treatment more personalised.

Emphasis on Sterilisation and Infection Control

In a profession where we constantly work within the oral cavity, a space abundant with various microorganisms, sterilisation and infection control is paramount. Modern dental clinics are equipped with advanced sterilisation machine which use heat and pressure to effectively sterilise all reusable instruments. The autoclave, a type of sterilisation machine, is commonly used to kill bacteria, viruses, and even resistant spores, ensuring optimal patient safety.

The Convenience of Intraoral Cameras

These tiny digital cameras allow the capture and display of images from within the patient’s mouth, significantly improving our ability to educate patients about their oral health and treatment needs. By enabling patients to visualise what we see, these cameras empower them to make more informed decisions about their treatment options.

Practice Management Software

Practice management software has become an integral part of modern dental practices. From appointment scheduling and patient communication to electronic health records and billing, these systems streamline all administrative aspects of managing a dental practice, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing errors.

Tele-dentistry: Bridging the Distance

Another remarkable innovation transforming dental care is tele-dentistry. By using digital technology to communicate and deliver dental care remotely, we can provide consultations, supervision, and even certain aspects of treatment to patients who may have difficulty accessing in-person care. Tele-dentistry also allows for seamless collaboration with specialists, facilitating comprehensive care for our patients. From monitoring orthodontic treatments to triaging emergencies, teledentistry can potentially help us reach out to more patients and provide timely interventions.

Wearable Technology: An Eye on the Future

The future of dentistry also lies in the use of wearable technology. Devices like smart toothbrushes and dental health trackers are already making waves by helping patients maintain their oral health effectively at home. Furthermore, the ongoing research in bio-responsive dental materials, which can react and adapt to the oral environment, is set to revolutionise dental care. These materials can potentially repair small caries lesions or control the release of therapeutic agents, reducing the need for invasive procedures. While it’s still early days for these innovations, they hold immense promise for a future where preventive dentistry could be redefined, making our role as dental professionals even more crucial.


The use of technology in dentistry has resulted in improved accuracy, efficiency, and patient satisfaction. By adopting these advancements, we not only enhance our diagnostic and treatment capabilities but also elevate the overall patient experience, reinforcing the essential nature of dentistry in the healthcare landscape.

While technology brings innumerable benefits, it’s important to remember that it is simply a tool to augment our skills and knowledge. As dental professionals, we must continue to hone our skills, keep abreast of the latest developments, and strive for the highest standards of patient care. In a future where technology will play an even greater role in our profession, this commitment to lifelong learning will be more important than ever.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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