Every year brings a fresh wave of new innovation to dentistry. With rapid developments in technology, the pace of change is accelerating. Dental surgeries have to invest in new equipment to keep up with patient expectations. It’s an exciting and challenging time.
Dental resellers can boost sales and support clients by discussing the latest dental products on offer and the available purchasing options. In the coming year, we predict that interest in high-tech dental techniques and machines will increase, with positive effects for both vendor profits and customer satisfaction. Let’s look at some of the new innovations on the horizon in 2016.
- Dental lasers
There was a lot of excitement about dental lasers a few years ago, but unfortunately the reality failed to live up to the hype. However, now dental lasers are back with improved technology and more attractive prices, they’re tipped to make major inroads.
Lasers offer vastly reduced chair time and improve customer satisfaction. You do not have to wait for anaesthesia to kick in and wear off, and patients are delighted to forego the loud noises and vibrations of the drill. Dentists can achieve better throughput and patients are less likely to miss appointments through fear. In fact, they’ll be so pleased that they will send friends and relations to your surgery.
- Dental implant software
Implants are beyond the reach of many would-be patients today. The treatment requires numerous visits for impressions and lab procedures and must be carried out by highly skilled lab technicians, restorative dentists and surgeons with advanced manual skills.
Studies have shown that software may offer a solution. By speeding up the process, from initial scans to making the implants, the treatment could be delivered in just two visits, bringing substantial cost savings and opening up the market.
- Next-generation materials
Nano-composite resins have been with us for around a decade: scientists are eagerly researching other ways that nanotechnology could be applied in dentistry. The next generation of materials could help teeth to self-heal, rebuild enamel and fight off bacteria.
From hard-wearing, ultra-realistic fillings made from silica and zirconia nanoparticles to antimicrobial adhesives and cancer-detecting quantum dots, nanomaterials are sure to be introduced to the market in the next few years.
- Computer-assisted design (CAD)
There is no doubt that the appearance of dental implants is almost as important as their functionality. Implants which fail to replicate the ‘emergence profile’ of the patient’s mouth – that’s the natural shape of the teeth in plain English – can leave teeth looking odd or artificial.
Computer-assisted design and machining technology helps to improve accuracy in replicating the emergence profile, including how teeth emerge from the gums. It’s cheaper than conventional techniques and ensures a more accurate fit. The technology could be widely adapted to give patients less expensive, more natural-looking smiles.
- 3D printing
The mind boggles at the range of applications 3D printing could have in the future. While it may be a few years before 3D printing for dentists is viable and passes all the regulatory hurdles, it is worth noting that some promising experiments are being carried out.
Researchers at the University of Groningen are making a 3D-printed tooth from anti-microbial plastic. Ordinary dental resin polymers are mixed with antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts, printed into a bespoke shape then hardened with ultraviolet light. The result kills 99% of bacteria without harming human tissues.
These new high-tech treatments promise to bring significant developments in dentistry. Treatments will become faster, more effective and more affordable. Laser technology could be an absolute game-changer, offering an alternative to the big, noisy drill which puts many people off seeing their dentist.
Innovations will improve the cosmetic appearance of crowns and implants, leaving dentists who fail to invest in the technology at a competitive disadvantage.
You can assist your clients by keeping them informed about the latest products in the pipeline, giving them information about financing options so they can become early adopters. Whether funding is required for training or to purchase devices and machines, it’s an investment which is likely to pay dividends.