Dental technology is steadily improving year-after-year. However, some dental practices regularly update their equipment while others assume patients will not know the difference between new and old. Let’s take a look at the advances in dental technology over the years to help patients understand how these amazing machines work their magic in and out of the mouth.
The Beginnings of Dentistry
The first-ever in-depth scientific book on dentistry was published way back in the early 18th century. The book, Le Chirurgien Dentiste, was written by Pierre Fauchard. However, plenty of people practiced dentistry long before Fauchard’s book was published. All sorts of craftsmen, many of whom were barbers, goldsmiths, bloodletters, blacksmiths and wig makers, practiced amateur dentistry. Lacking in formal training, these early practitioners of dentistry were quite precise when using specialized instruments to replace, repair and remove teeth. Dental instruments have evolved to the point that lasers and other digital tools are now in use in dentists’ offices across the globe. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting and useful advances in dental technology.
Digital dentistry hit the mainstream in the past couple decades. This term refers to the array of dental devices and technologies that use digital/computer-controlled components rather than basic mechanical/electrical devices. Digital tech used by dentists around the world includes computer-assisted design (CAD), digital X-rays, dental lasers, intra-oral cameras, optical scanners and cone beam CTs.
Dental technology has evolved to the point that digital scanners1 are now being used to take digital impressions of teeth or even a full smile. Our office uses the Trios 3Shape intraoral scanning tool to take such a digital impression in a single quick and easy step. Digital scanners are safe, convenient, comfortable and accurate. Dentists far and wide agree digital scanners are superior to conventional impressions in terms of accuracy as well as ease of use. Our patients don’t have to worry about the messy process of traditional dental impressions that have to potential to trigger a gag reflex. Our tiny handheld Trios imaging wand scans the cusps and curves along the interior of the mouth, transferring information straight to the 3Shape software.
Our team views a digital replication of your unique smile to facilitate the discussion of potential treatment options, restorations or a smile makeover. In fact, this 3D image of the mouth also helps with dental implant surgery. This image makes it easier to generate an accurate surgical guide for the implant’s placement. Trios 3Shape technology is also compatible with CAD technology to virtually mill the brand new dental crown or filling for the perfect fit. There is no need to transport materials back and forth between labs, risking damage and warping, when 3Shape permits a seamless digital transfer. In fact, your crown or other restoration can even be milled right here on the spot for same day treatment.
The Arrival of Dentures
Dentures were in use by the mid-19th century. Dentures made of ivory, human bone, lead, brass or even hippopotamus bone were used to replace missing teeth. Fast forward to 1851 and these comparably primitive versions of dentures were dropped in favor of vulcanized rubber. The one and only Charles Goodyear was responsible for bringing this rubber version to market.
The Dental Drill
The dental drill might seem like a modern invention yet people have been using some form of drilling on teeth for more than 6,000 years. Dental drilling is helpful as it hastens the elimination of decayed tooth tissue. The modern era’s dental drills were first introduced by George F. Green. Green, an American dentist, created a foot pedal-based pneumatic drill. Dr. John Patrick Walsh introduced a pneumatic high-speed air rotor drill in New Zealand in 1949.
What About the Toothbrush?
The toothbrush is a legitimate and important piece of dental technology. Toothbrushes go all the way back to ancient times. People have long-used objects of varying types to clean their teeth. However, the creation of the commonly-used commercial toothbrush designed for the masses is the work of William Addis. This Englishman conjured up the idea for the modern day toothbrush in 1770 while serving time in the slammer. Addis used swine bristle thread placed through holes at each end of a carved cow bone. This basic model was the first-ever prototype for the modern day toothbrush.
Addis began to mass produce his toothbrush after being released from prison. Fast forward to 1844 and the first-ever 3-row bristle toothbrush was introduced to the market. Dupont introduced the first nylon version of the toothbrush to the masses in 1938. The first electric toothbrush was made a year later yet electric toothbrushes did not reach a true mainstream tipping point until the 1990s.
Dental implants2 comprised of shells or alloplasts date back to the Mayan civilization around 600 AD. Today’s version of dental implants have their origins in the 1940s and 1950s when dentists first started to experiment with titanium for artificial teeth. The first successful dental implant system was invented by Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark in 1965.
Schedule Your Appointment at Freedom Dental
Freedom Dental has the latest dental technology. Give us a call today to learn more about our dental equipment, procedures, and techniques. Dial (707) 422-2236 to find out more and schedule an appointment.