New high-tech tools — from dental robots to teledentistry — are making taking care of your teeth easier, and in some cases, more cost effective, than ever before.
Here are a few of the latest developments in the world of oral health.
Better brushing with smart toothbrushes
Forget clunky, loud and messy electric toothbrushes. Today’s electric toothbrushes are better than ever and incorporate a good deal of tech, too. Most come with built-in timers to help you reach the suggested brushing goal each and every time you brush. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes or more twice a day on all surfaces of your teeth. Once you’ve hit your brushing time, the toothbrush will power off or buzz.
Some have even more sophisticated features. SmileDirectClub’s electric toothbrush makes quiet sonic vibrations that move the bristles to remove cavity- and odor-causing food particles.
One problem many people face when brushing is that they favor one side or certain spots in their mouth over others, allowing plaque to build up in certain areas and causing issues such as gum inflammation and cavities. Our electric toothbrush helps make sure you’re covering all surfaces in your mouth evenly with its angled head that can reach those molars way back in your mouth and a quadrant timer that makes sure you brush all areas of your mouth evenly. Others have sensors in the handles that can tell the brush head’s position so you can correct your brushing as you go, while some will alert you if you’re brushing too hard, which could damage your gums.
Easier repairs and replacements with dental 3D printing
Certain procedures, especially orthodontics, are now easier because of technology like 3D printers.
SmileDirectClub uses 3D printing to create members’ clear dental aligners. You first visit a SmileShop or partner dentist to get a 3D image taken. Or you can order an at-home impression kit. We then use the image or the impressions to create a treatment plan and then print your aligners using 3D printing.
Some dentists even use 3D printing to repair or replace damaged teeth and make crowns, bridges, caps and dentures. The technology makes it easier and less expensive to customize solutions for patients.
Dental robots for teeth cleaning and cavity filling
Robots have started to work alongside dentists while caring for patients’ teeth.
In Japan, a robot nicknamed “Al Dente” successfully removed a wisdom tooth. In the U.S., the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine is the first American dental school to use Yomi, the first dental implant robot approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Hundreds of patients at the dental school have received digital care from Yomi, who works alongside dentists. In one procedure, a technician typed instructions into a keyboard and then Yomi drilled into the patient’s upper jaw to place a titanium implant to anchor a reconstructed tooth.
Teledentistry for virtual dental care
More and more patients saw their doctors virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes dental visits. Patients logged on for consultations, emergency triaging, and for follow-up appointments after dental procedures.
One recent survey showed that 75% of dentists providing teledentistry expect the volume of patients they see remotely to either stay steady or increase in the next 12 months.
At SmileDirectClub, we also use technology to make your orthodontics care easier and more efficient through our teledentistry platform. Club members will complete virtual check-ins throughout treatment to ensure they’re on track. You can reach out through our app, on the phone, or on video chat.
For many people, embracing technology in dental care has led to healthier teeth and gums. As the industry continues to advance, the possibilities for its use in dental care will too, making dental care even more efficient and accessible.