6 Emerging Technologies That Will Change Dentistry Forever

5/28/2017
Ryan Hamm
3D printing materials
 

We already covered 3D printing technology—but the printers are only as good as the materials they use. And for dentistry, the materials on the horizon are going to be game-changers.

In the manufacturing sector, printable ceramics have been available for several years. While right now the materials aren’t biocompatible, but it doesn’t take much imagination to understand how this technology could eventually lead to printable teeth that require a simple finish and polish before insertion. Additional materials could be used to print “gingiva” with the final goal of dentures that are completely 3D printed.

 

Ultrasound technology

If you’ve seen the amazing things ultrasound technology can do on the medical side, you knowwhat to expect on the dental side. The goal with ultrasound solutions in dentistry is to provide a radiation-free option for imaging, along with detailed, 3D images of the teeth and jaw. Ultrasounds could offer an alternative to many 2D and 3D imaging solutions currently available.

Continuous Liquid Interface Production

3D printing has already taken the dental world by storm, particularly in the lab market, where it’s improved model-making, wax-ups, surgical guides and more. But there is room to grow in the printing technology itself (not to mention the realm of 3D printing materials, which we cover in more detail on slide seven).

 

Robotics

Earlier this year, the first robot designed for dental implant surgery was approved by the FDA. It’s designed to ensure accurate and precise oral surgery, specifically for implant cases and implant placements. And it’s also just a glimpse at how much robotics could change dentistry.

Currently, surgical robots are coming into their own in the medical field, and those innovations have obvious implications for dentistry.The intent of surgical robots is to allow more precise control over surgeries, ostensibly providing better care, less invasive procedures and improved healing times. Some researchers are even experimenting with completely hands-free surgeries—though these will likely always be a minority since quick reactions and critical thinking are key to any surgery.

 

Virtual reality

Chances are, you’ve seen something on the news about virtual reality (VR) over the last few years. While it’s been popular in sci-fi movies for decades, it’s only now coming into its own as a popular technology—when Facebook bought VR company Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, it was because Oculus’ technology was widely perceived as a game-changer. Now, three years later, Oculus has been joined by the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and other hybrid systems designed to bring VR into the living room. But while the potential for VR gaming might seem obvious, dentistry has a lot to learn from VR.

Artificial intelligence

There’s plenty out there about artificial intelligence (and its trendy sister concept, machine learning) and how quickly it’s developing. But artificial intelligence is already a reality in many fields, and will likely impact dentistry in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence could also be used to eventually help with diagnoses and analysis of images—2D or 3D. Caries detection could become even more automatic, and learning computers could help dentists identify potential hazards when viewing diagnostic images and planning potential treatments.
 

3D printing materials

We already covered 3D printing technology—but the printers are only as good as the materials they use. And for dentistry, the materials on the horizon are going to be game-changers.

In the manufacturing sector, printable ceramics have been available for several years. While right now the materials aren’t biocompatible, but it doesn’t take much imagination to understand how this technology could eventually lead to printable teeth that require a simple finish and polish before insertion. Additional materials could be used to print “gingiva” with the final goal of dentures that are completely 3D printed.

 
 
 
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