Dental care of the future will involve many remarkable changes to the dental industry itself. Advancements have already revolutionized dental healthcare worldwide, but increasing patient demands and advancing treatment technology will only push this further.
To help you stay abreast of the most current changes in the field, we’ll cover the biggest and most impactful technologies available to patients today. Learn how these can be best used to improve your patients’ care and their experience with your practice.
We’ll cover the following advancements and new technology that your practice can take advantage of:
- Smart toothbrush
- Artificial intelligence
- Online scheduling
- Patient experience software
- Patient communication
- Digital forms to easily collect patient data
- 3D printing
- CEREC one-visit crowns
- Digital dentures
- Virtual reality
- Laser treatment
- Antimicrobial restoratives
- Robotic support
- Regenerative dentistry
Let us begin by understanding what dental care of the future can mean for patients and how these technologies will completely change the future of dentistry.
16 technologies that will be part of the dental care of the future.
The dental field is constantly evolving. New advancements replace traditional analog technology to suit patients’ changing needs, some of which are already being used in offices today.
These needs can range from regular and personal items that can be enhanced to technologies that can have immense changes in how healthcare is rendered. These range from innovative prevention techniques and digital advancements in care management software, all of which enhance the patients - and dental practitioners - experience.
1. Smart toothbrush
Smart toothbrushes are an innovative product to get excited about. Although tooth brushing is considered a private activity, this latest invention can make it easier to maintain oral hygiene while reducing cavities. A smart toothbrush is an electric toothbrush that connects to a mobile phone app via Bluetooth to improve oral care. However, newer versions have become more capable.
For instance, the Kolibree intelligent electric toothbrush comes with an app that teaches oral hygiene and makes it fun for kids to brush their teeth. The Philips Sonicare smart toothbrush has sensors that provide real-time notifications on tooth brushing techniques and how to improve. Some even have built-in artificial intelligence to guide, time, and remind you of dental hygiene. Soon, you’ll be able to sync devices like your smart toothbrush with your dentists, expanding the benefits that these smart toothbrushes offer.
2. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) has already made deep inroads into dentistry with vast implementation in many dental specialties in recent years to help detect and diagnose dental caries, maxillary sinusitis, and other conditions. These virtual models and 3D scans allow tailored treatment plans and make it possible to make unprecedented predictions, such as determining the size of unerupted teeth.
AI tools can also analyze data. With access, they can instantly provide a deeper understanding of each individual's system so clinicians can have the best treatment options and an increased probability of success. For instance, smart toothbrushes will be massive for personalized care as they can send accurate data about oral hygiene habits to dentists before visits.
In addition, efforts are now being made to link AI with imaging techniques such as MRI to identify even the tiniest differences in typical structures. Since dentists are already using AI software to get insights into clinical decision-making, advancements in AI algorithms and uses in the future of digital dentistry will enable clinicians to find the best modalities for their patients.
3. Online scheduling
Online scheduling software and dental forms will likely become a benchmark for how dental practices onboard patients. According to our State of Dental report, online booking will become the norm in the next few years. Surprisingly, only 26% of practices actually offer online booking options to their patients. Although adoption by some dental practitioners has been slow, intelligent scheduling can maximize productivity by decreasing the burden of scheduling personnel and potentially eliminating the need for lengthy training sessions for new hires. For patients, this means a hassle-free experience with the ability to book and modify appointments instantly online.
4. Patient experience software advancements
Patient experience software is any solution that improves your patients’ overall experience with your dental practice; but they often enhance your practice’s workflow and administrative functions as well, saving you time on repetitive tasks.
With the demand for digital and mobile options growing, practices that fail to adapt will lag behind. Considering how integral convenience is to modern patients, it’s shocking that our State of Dental report found that only 50% of dental practices have actually adopted patient experience software.
A patient experience platform helps dental offices manage repetitive tasks on autopilot, contributing to more referrals, reviews, and appointments. They empower patients with simpler access to patient information, such as health records, while simultaneously freeing up your staff's time for other tasks.
5. Patient communication
Convenient and timely communication has become standard for customers across all service industries - and dentistry is no exception. Modern patients expect the same convenience in communication that they get on Amazon from their dental provider, meaning less phone time and more emails and text messages.
It’s best to offer patients communication via their preferred method for the best chance of an answer and the fastest response times. Offer secure, direct patient messaging to patients to keep patients in the loop, remind them of upcoming appointments, and recall them for future care!
6. Digital forms to easily collect patient data
Digitizing healthcare has been a trend that will surely continue into the future. However, digitizing needs to add value to the healthcare organization, its workers, and its patients. Replacing paper-based forms with modern digital forms leads to streamlining processes and easier dental practice management.
Using effective online forms to improve the onboarding process comes with several benefits; it reduces time spent on manual data entry, filing, or scanning paper forms and minimizes the possibility of transcription errors. It also ensures the forms are HIPAA-compliant and can easily be integrated with EMR systems and provide helpful notes such as the reason for the patient visit or changes to medical history.
7. Payment processing software
Your payment processing software can attract or detract patients. When you adopt the latest payment processing technology, you have a higher chance of making them satisfied. The State of Dental report survey respondents emphasized customer satisfaction as a priority, so any way you can improve your patients’ experience with your practice helps!
Patients appreciate a payment processing system that automates billing and collection efforts and makes the process stress-free. It will also reflect your dental office's professionality, improving patient experience and maximizing cash flow. No patient wants to jump through hoops to pay.
allows patients to submit payments with just two taps on their smartphones for exceptional convenience.
8. 3D printing
One of the future challenges in dentistry will be the fabrication and creation of aesthetic and functional tooth parts. With less expensive high-speed 3D printers, dental offices can solve this obstacle by adapting to new technology. 3D printing will replace the traditional way dentists make a mold of a tooth to fashion a temporary crown or dental component at a cheaper cost.
9. CEREC one-visit crowns
[file: “cerec-one-visit-crowns” alt= “Dental operation in progress”]
CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. CEREC one-visit crowns should often take just one visit to the dentist, saving time for everyone, unlike traditional crown replacements or repairs. CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. This near-future dental technology typically involves a few hours when the dental prosthetist takes digital images to create a crown in-house. The outcome is a tooth designed to look more natural, while still strong despite not having a metal core. When it becomes available and more widespread, technology will undoubtedly be a win-win and save a lot of trips back and forth.
10. Digital dentures
Typically, dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. The difference with digital dentures is that these dentures are created digitally from start to finish. First, the teeth and oral cavity impressions are made using digital mouth scanning. Then the dentures are created based on these scans on a computer and then printed using 3D printing technology. This advancement empowers same-day service, benefiting patients and your practice.
Functionally, digital dentures are often more flexible and long-lasting when compared to traditional dentures. They also offer more comfort than their predecessors as the digital scans help customize each user's dentures.
11. Virtual reality
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Virtual reality (VR) can completely close off the real world and immerse the user in a virtual environment. It can be used in training staff and providing better training resources. For instance, students and aspiring dental surgeons can visualize operations and experience procedures from the surgeon’s perspective. For instance, in 2015, Nobel Biocare held one of the first dental surgeries filmed through VR which also allowed observers to assist the whole procedure from the surgeon's perspective virtually. It was a novel learning experience for all who benefited. Dentists and staff can further their knowledge and skills through similar simulations and others.
12. Laser treatment
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Availability: Near Future
Laser dentistry involves the use of lasers to treat different dental conditions. The laser instruments used by dentists create a narrow and focused beam of light designed to react to specific tissue. For instance, lasers remove decay within a tooth and prepare the surrounding enamel to receive the filling. Also, lasers can be used in gum disease to reshape gums and remove bacteria during root canal procedures. It also allows dentists to remove any lesions.
Laser dentistry has many benefits for future dental care. For instance, it avoids anesthesia and minimizes bleeding and bacterial infections. Also, it causes minor damage to the surrounding gum tissue, thus reducing the need for stitches while allowing faster healing and recovery time.
13. Antimicrobial restoratives
Availability: Near Future
Silver amalgam is the most well-known and commonly used of all dental restorative materials for teeth. At the same time, the most robust antibacterial properties are in calcium aluminate cement. These would be replaced by robust restorative filling materials and have antimicrobial properties with future advancements.
Antimicrobial restorative filling materials would be ideal in future dental care to prevent caries' spread after dental procedures. They can be used to reduce the number of bacteria that may remain in the oral cavity. For example, after completion of tooth restoration, they can help the patient avoid recurrent decay and restoration failure. They will be available beyond the research stage in the near future.
14. Robotic support
Availability: Near Future
Robots are machines that perform automatic manual functions based on computer programs. Technological advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence have automated more and more industries, and dentistry is no different. Dentistry is moving towards a new world of robot-assisted and data-driven medicine. The possible applications of robots in dentistry in the near future include material testing, orthodontics, oral surgery, and implant dentistry.
However, according to recent research, robotic systems have not been entirely introduced into the dental field due to current limitations, complex operating systems, and high costs. However, improved intuitiveness of the robotic systems and more affordability will make them more widespread and impactful. Robotics can enhance the accuracy, precision, and workflow of dental practices.
Availability: Near Future
CRISPR is an exact gene-editing tool that changes the medical and dental world. This ground-breaking genome editing method has immense potential for future dental care. Dental researchers could use CRISPR to solve oral cancer. It could also play a definite role in reducing plaque formation by altering the functioning of bacteria. CRISPR could even lead to the prevention of dental caries and periodontal disease!
16. Regenerative dentistry
Availability: Near Future
Regenerative Dentistry focuses on biologically based approaches to reconstruct damaged soft and hard dental tissues. It incorporates tissue engineering approaches to exploit stem cells to regenerate tissues and even whole teeth. Regenerative dentistry is pushing the boundaries of what's possible in future dental care.
A Nature article on regenerative dentistry shows how dentistry can change immensely with the future possibility of self-healing teeth and biological therapy for damaged teeth. Researchers at Harvard University have already developed dental fillings that allow teeth to heal themselves. These teeth fillings stimulate stem cells to promote the growth of dentin and other competent layers of our teeth, making it possible to regrow teeth damaged through dental disease.
In 2020, Discoveries from researchers at Karolinska Institute show that biological therapy for damaged teeth and treatment of tooth sensitivity was possible through single-cell RNA sequencing method and genetic tracing. Once fanciful ideas in dentistry could one day be a reality!
NexHealth lets you keep up with future dental care
The current changes in the dental industry are intriguing and exciting, and the future will be filled with further innovations that put new technology at our fingertips. Whether it is improving oral health in our homes with solutions like the smart toothbrush, or providing groundbreaking preventative care through the use of CRISPR, the future of dentistry offers a lot of promise.
Learn how you can adopt some of these solutions today with NexHealth’s patient experience software, ushering your patients into the modern era of patient care.
Arrange a demo with NexHealth now to see how you can revamp your practice for the future.