2 New Dental Technologies Straight From The Future

Rapid developments in technology at large have led to numerous advances in the world of dentistry. The pace at which new techniques are appearing means it can be hard to keep up. If you would like to learn about two of the most exciting new treatment options in dentistry, read on. This article will acquaint you with air abrasion and CAD/CAM technology.

Air Abrasion

The traditional way to remove tooth decay is with a manual drill. If you've ever gotten a filling, chances are you're already aware how painful this process can be. Not only that, but drilling teeth sometimes also causes fracturing and/or chipping of the tooth. As a result, more intensive--and expensive--procedures may ensue. 

Fortunately, this is where the exciting new technique known as air abrasion comes in. Think of air abrasion as something like a tiny sandblaster: a stream of minute particles is projected against the surface of your tooth. Though the idea may seem scary at first, air abrasion actually allows a greater degree of precision in removing decay. In addition, it is not as painful as drilling, and often does not require an anesthetic to be administered at all.

Before you get too excited, however, it's important to realize that air abrasion is not always an appropriate option. It is most commonly reserved for use in treating early stage cavities, rather than those that are more advanced. Likewise, air abrasion is not able to access decay that is hidden beneath tooth enamel, meaning a drill is still necessary to treat such subsurface cavities.


Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing--or CAD/CAM--are sophisticated 3D modeling systems that have long been used in engineering and manufacturing settings. But, thanks to attendant developments in camera technology, CAD/CAM is now being applied in the dental world as well.

Up until now, dental prostheses such as crowns and bridges had to be painstakingly crafted from molds of a patient's teeth. This time-consuming process meant that many awkward and potentially uncomfortable weeks might pass between making a mold and installing the new prosthesis. CAD/CAM is revolutionizing this process.

CAD/CAM allows a dentist to produce a 3D image of a patient's teeth in mere minutes. This is done with the use of a special fiber-optic camera. This image is then used to design the custom prosthesis, often while you wait. The most amazing part of all comes next: the CAD/CAM data is sent to a micro-milling machine that creates the new prosthesis right there on the spot. As a result, the entire process may take as little as one hour.

Talk to a professional dentistry, like Arrowhead Family Dentistry, for more information and to see where these new technologies are available.