Over thousands of years, dentistry has evolved from sharp-stone drills to cloud storage of patient files. Innovations in modern dentistry began when the practice was formalized as a profession in the early 18th century. Since then, new technologies have been gradually introduced, with the latest devices and techniques designed to benefit both patients and practitioners. As we transition into the new decade, here’s what to expect from dental tech in 2020.
Intraoral and Optical Scanning
Intraoral scanners (IOS), also known as optical scanners, create 3D images of dental and oral structures. This data is what allows dental technicians to create prostheses, such as bridges, crowns, and veneers, and dentists to evaluate the next steps for treating patient conditions. It’s https://www.integrityss.com/blog/our-predictions-for-dental-technology-trends-in-2020commonly thought that IOS scans are accurate and realistic representations of patients’ oral health, and the technology provides many other benefits, such as reduced patient discomfort, improved treatment quality, and overall efficiency. During 2020, these benefits are expected to experience tremendous growth, while disadvantages such as learning curves and equipment costs are expected to decrease.
Certain practices already utilize 3D printing technology to fabricate anatomical models and create surgical guides. Some also implement the printers for creating orthodontic appliances. Moving into 2020, newer applications for the technology include:
- Repairing or replacing a tooth after acquiring 3D images
- Replacing traditional dental impression techniques
- Producing dental appliances faster and more accurately
- Creating specialized dental tools
As the use of 3D printing becomes more prevalent in dentistry, the accuracy of printed items will continue to improve. Accurate veneers and prostheses will reduce the amount of time spent creating and verifying the effectiveness of such items, offering dentists more time to assist more patients.
Cloud-Based Data Storage and Software (and Security)
In 2017, healthcare data breaches cost $380 per compromised record, a fee steeped in HIPAA fines and forensic investigation costs. Thankfully, cloud storage is becoming a viable, secure, and inexpensive option for dental practices as they balance sensitive information about patients’ dental history. Use of the cloud means fewer human errors and subsequent data breaches, as well as a reduced software cost. However, whether or not a practice pursues the use of the cloud, security measures are also bound to come to the forefront of dental tech.
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