Things are moving and shaking in the dentistry world according to Toronto dentist Cameron Clokie. According to Cameron, the industry is poised to experience a renaissance of sorts. Normally technology and medicine move very slowly, for a host of reasons, but lately there has been a big shift in attitudes with the introduction of 3D printing. 3D printing, if you’re unfamiliar, is where a large machine is able to combine raw material into a specific type of model based off of an uploaded blueprint. 3D printing is slowly shifting from the hobbyist level to the professional world and in the dentistry world, things are in for a real shake up.
With the usage of computer scanning technology, a patients teeth can be scanned and recorded, then uploaded to a 3D printer which would then create a replica of the patients mouth. With an exact model of the patients teeth, the dentist would no longer have to utilize invasive molds, which can be uncomfortable and can sometimes be incorrect. A 3D printer is non-invasive and most importantly, will create an exact replica, allowing for the dentist to create braces and denture molds quickly and accurately.
In addition to scanning, Cameron Clokie sees that the use of lasers are going to be taking the dental world by storm. Traditionally, X-Rays were used to determine the decay of a tooth, but thanks to laser technology, decay can be quickly and accurately detected by a laser scan. Without a need for drilling or using a large and cumbersome X-Ray machine, laser scanning can be cheaper, easier and more comfortable for everyone involved. In one test, lasers were shown to have 93% accuracy compared to X-Rays which only held a 27% accuracy rating. That is a big difference when it comes to predictive technology about the decay of the human tooth.
And the biggest change in dental technology is coming in the form of how payment takes place. Eschewing traditional currency forms, startup companies like Dentacoin are starting to create a type of digital currency that allows patients to trade their feedback to dentists in exchange for discounts and financial rewards that could be redeemed at a later time. This would utilize blockchain technology, a type of open source tech that allows people to access information online. These blockchains contain specific records of information and are public, but cannot be altered once created. A dentist could allow for these Dentacoins to contain feedback that will be permanent and unchangeable. Once he has received feedback, the dentist participating in Dentacoins can issue out DCN to allow patients to pay for services with that currency.
All in all, we are seeing some real changes happening in the dental field. Cameron Clokie knows that the future of dentistry is going to be a bright one, and as we continue to see technological breakthroughs in the private sector, the dental industry will be quick to follow suite. Hopefully this will pave the way for other branches of medicine to adapt to some of these newer methods as well.