Significant advances in dental and laboratory technology has streamlined the process of the average dental visit over the past 50 years. Computers have largely replaced file cabinets for storing patient records and digital X-Rays, while the introduction of lasers has made procedures far less difficult, less painful for patients, and less likely to cause serious infections or other complications due to allergies to anesthetics such as Novocaine, which would otherwise necessitate the use of alternate anesthetics, which were often more expensive, and modern machinery has made the production of full dentures and partials faster, simpler, and more cost-effective.
The importance of dental technology in today’s dental school classroom is self evident. Dentists are exposed to technology before they even set foot in their own office. Schools no longer use traditional textbooks. Now students are connecting to the Internet on hand held tablets through wireless access points. Hands-on work is now being performed with lasers rather than picks and drills, three dimensional imaging technology is now being used to teach students about the different parts of the mouth. The Dental industry has even set up Facebook networks where students can go to receive moral support, or advice about the field, and YouTube allows students to share what they have learned from acting out different dental emergencies, so that other students around the world can benefit from their experiences. And furthermore, since computers have become so critical to the effective operation of dentist’s schools, jobs have been created in several different computer related fields, such as Information Technology, networking, and computer repair, to name a few. If you’re experienced in the field of computers, you can probably find a job at a dentist’s school, since this type of experience is now in high demand, and the pay is competitive.
Inside the dental clinic, computers streamline accessibility of patient documents and digital X-rays, and even allows data to be shared between multiple offices from different areas, thanks to the wonders of the Internet. Diamond probes have replaced traditional metal probes, and dentists are now using lasers to perform procedures such as tooth filling.
As you can see, technology has made some very positive contributions to the dental field, from the way dentists and dental students think, study, and learn, to the way they operate in the office. These contributions have removed much of the fear of a dental visit among the rest of us, and together, companies are creating more new technologies to make the process both less painful, and easier on your wallet. The importance of dental technology will only become more evident as time passes.