ENCINO – The practice of dentistry looks much different from it did at the turn of the century. Some technological advancements are making trips to the dentist quicker, less painful and more reliable, while other product developments are enabling better oral self-care.
“These new technologies are having a huge impact on how dental professionals treat their patients and how people take care of their oral care at home,” Dr. Sargon Lazaroff, a cosmetic dentist and creator of the immediate tooth replacement device known as Ultratooth, said. “Nobody likes going to the dentist. The drills, injections and the menacing tools are enough to scare even the toughest of people. The good news is that going to the dentist is nothing to fear, all thanks to technology, and that patients have never had better oral care tools.”
Some of the dental innovations in the past 20-plus years include:
The invention of clear aligners eliminates any embarrassment that patients who need braces might feel about their appearance. Clear aligners can move crooked teeth and close gaps without using metal brackets or wires.
“They also make it easier to keep teeth clean than is the case with braces,” Lazarof said. “Many patients who wear traditional braces and already had poor oral hygiene to start with won’t adjust to the cleaning routines that are necessary when you’re wearing braces. Often, patients will develop calcium deposits on the front of their teeth following orthodontic treatment.”
This innovation isn’t for the patient, at least not directly. Loupes are special glasses for the dentist that have built-in magnification, allowing the dentist to see a far larger image of a patient’s mouth.
“Loupes improve the quality of patient care and make procedures easier and faster,” Lazarof said.
Artificial intelligence is transforming the way dentists work and patients receive treatment.
“Robots are now able to perform minimally invasive work, like filling cavities, teeth cleaning, cap applications and tooth extractions,” Lazarof said. “Although robots aren’t currently accessible for more invasive treatments, there has been success indicating that AI dentistry may become more mainstream in the near future.”
Improvements to whitening chemicals and methods make whitening your teeth safe and convenient.
“Although prescription-strength treatments with whitening trays are available, the most effective whitening treatments are performed by a dentist,” Lazarof said.
Generally, the process for conventional dental implants requires multiple appointments and several months. Ultratooth, Dr. Lazarof’s invention, offers a replacement tooth in a single one-hour visit.
“This eliminates the need for other removable appliances or unwanted gaps in a patient’s smile,” Lazarof said. “One advantage over traditional implants, besides allowing the patient full function after one visit, is that the tissue and the bone don’t have to be built up again.
“The dental industry is riding the wave of the future,” Lazarof said. “Virtually every year brings change, whether it be in patient care and optimizing the patient experience, digital dental trends or improved business practices. Technology is at the center of it all.”
Dr. Sargon Lazarof is a cosmetic dentist and the founder of the Sargon Dental and Implant Institute in Encino, where doctors come and train in basic and advanced implantology. He maintains a full-time practice in implantology and is the inventor and developer of Ultratooth, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s first approved device which can replace a tooth in full function in a single, one-hour appointment. Lazarof earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery, with honors, from the University of Southern California. He wrote the book, “The Immediate Load Implant System: Esthetic Dentistry for the 21st Century.” He is also a past clinical professor at University of Southern California School of Dentistry and a fellow of the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics. For more information, visit www.sargondental.com.