Digital Dentistry – Technology for Performance and Comfort

Posted on : 02-01-2015 | By : Haddon Suttner | In : Dental Techniques, Dentist and Dentistry

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Digital dentistry may be referred to the use of dental technology or device that includes digital or computer-controlled components in contrast to that of mechanical or electrical. Digital dentistry ranges from the CAD/CAM (computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing) to those that may not even be recognized, such as computer-controlled delivery of nitrous oxide. When the right combination of technology is thoughtfully and strategically placed in the dental practice, it can enhance the performance, as well as the level of care provided.



The digital dental technologies that might be used in the dental office include, but are not limited to, the following:

CAD/CAM: CAD/CAM (computer aided design, computer aided manufacture) technology enables dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays to be fabricated using computerized milling technology. Dentist may work with in-office CAD/CAM to complete same-day tooth restorations that would otherwise require two or more visits to complete. Alternatively, if the case is more extensive, dentist may work with a dental laboratory that uses CAD/CAM technology to create restorations.

Cone Beam CT: This form of computerized tomography provides dentists with a quick 3-D image of a patient’s oral or maxillofacial anatomy. It is the basis for implant surgical guides used by oral surgeons and periodontists when placing dental implants. Such pre-surgical imaging techniques have made implant placement easier and more predictable, which helps ensure greater treatment success.

Diagnodent: Diagnodent is a tool used for the early detection of cavities. The advanced technology uses sound pulse and laser to detect caries earlier than traditional methods allowed, so that treatment can commence immediately, limiting the amount of dental decay. This helps preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure.

Digital X-rays: Digital radiographs capture dental images through a sensor that processes the image onto a computer screen. Digital X-rays provide greater comfort than traditional X-rays and reduce radiation exposure (four digital radiographs equal one “film” X-ray). Additionally, digital radiographs allow dentists to magnify images for greater diagnostic accuracy, ensuring more timely and appropriate treatments.

Intra-Oral Camera: Intra-oral cameras can produce accurate images of teeth and the supporting structures. This allows dentist and to see tooth defects. It also allows better understanding the need for the recommended treatment.

Dental Lasers: For hard tooth structure, soft gum tissue or both, dental lasers simplify procedures that once were complex and sometimes required patients to undergo painful healing periods. Causing less bleeding and trauma to surrounding areas, soft tissue lasers are a precision tool for many gingival procedures.

Optical Scanners: Optical scanners are used in dentistry to provide a digital map of the teeth, as well as to create a digital impression of the tooth’s anatomy. Digital color maps help ensure accurate color analysis for determining the shade and custom characterizations of cosmetic restorations. Digital impressions offer patients the convenience of not having to suffer through traditional impressions involving unpleasant tasting materials, bulky and cumbersome trays and possible gagging.

TekScan (T-Scan): A computer that uses an ultra-thin electronic sensor to digitally evaluate a patient’s bite relationships.

The Wand: The Wand is a computerized tool that can deliver anesthesia in a slow and methodic manner. The sensation of pain often associated with an injection is caused as a result of the pressure of the liquid being injected rather than the needle itself. The slow and gentle delivery associated with The Wand often makes injections painless.

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