Digital technology is quickly changing the way people do things. For most people, very seldom does a day go by that you do not have some type of digital technology interaction; with many of these interactions occurring in places you would not have imagined. One of these places is in your dental office. Digital technology has arrived in most dental offices over the last few years and is saving you time, giving you immediate results, and allowing you to be more comfortable. Do you recognize it when you see it? Here are a few places to look.

Dental X-rays

Traditional x-rays required dentist to take numerous pictures of your teeth in order to be able to see them. You were often required to hold a piece of x-ray film in awkward positions within your mouth for a period of time, while being exposed to high levels of radiation. It was only after these films were processed that the dentist, or dental assistant, was able to see if they had the pictures they needed. 

With digital x-rays, all of that has changed. These images are now acquired through three methods:

  • Direct - this method uses an electronic sensor that is placed in your mouth to record all of the images the dentist needs.
  • Indirect - combines the traditional method of taking x-rays with an x-ray film scanner, which allows the dentist to view the films immediately as digital images.
  • Semi-indirect - uses both the scanner and sensor to convert your dental x-rays into digital film.

By securing your images digitally, your dentist can:

  • Do this process faster
  • Get more complete images of not only your teeth, but your underlying oral structures
  • Reduce the amount of radiation you are being exposed to by as much as 85%
  • Create a product that can be shared with other specialists in real time, and more

All three of these methods allows your dentist to be able to better treat, diagnose, and monitor your dental health.

Optical Dental Scanners

Have you ever had a mouth full of nasty feeling, yucky tasting dental gunk, just so your dentist could get an impression of your tooth? This may soon be a thing of the past. Along with your digital x-rays, many dentist are now using optical scanners to provide a digital map of your teeth and create digital impressions of your actual tooth structure. This gives them the impressions they need in a matter of a few minutes, without you having to experience a mouth full of goo.

Once these impressions are recorded, your dentist is then able to transfer them directly into the computer. They can then be shared with the laboratory, or anyone else that will need to be involved with your restorations or treatment plans.

Dental Lasers

If you are like many dental patients, the two things that you probably hate the most is the needle that often comes along with many forms of sedation, and the noise and vibrations of the dental drill. 

For certain procedures performed with dental lasers, you may not have to worry about these two things. This is because they use a very narrow beam of light energy to produce a reaction with any surface that it comes in contact with. Dental lasers are used to:

  • Remove tooth decay
  • Treat gum disease
  • Expose wisdom teeth
  • Remove gum tissue
  • Treat infections in root canals
  • Remove or biopsy lesions
  • Whiten your teeth, and more

Along with all of the ways they can be used, dental lasers may also:

  • Reduce the need for anesthesia while producing a more relaxed dental experience
  • Reduce any anxiety caused by the sound and feel of the dental drill
  • Allow you to keep more of your healthy tooth during restorations
  • Produce more rapid healing by minimizing swelling and bleeding
  • Reduce the amount of bacteria present in both your diseased gum tissues and your tooth cavities

While dental lasers have not completely eliminated needles and drills from your dentist's practice, they have reduced the amount of time they must be used. 

Digital technology is nothing to fear and it is here to stay. The best part about it is the fact that it is improving, and making life safer and easier for everyone who is involved with it. 

For more information, contact local dental clinics, or visit sites like