Think about how far dental technology has come in the past decade. If you hopped in a time machine and set the dial to January 2007, what would you tell your younger self? After hot stock tips and Super Bowl winners, you'd eventually get around to dentistry. You'd let Younger You know that zirconia and lithium disilicate have largely replaced the PFM, digital impression systems are all the rage, and you can fill Class II preps with more than two millimeters of composite at a clip. What a time to be alive!
Set that time machine back further and our colleagues from the past would be even more astounded by modern dentistry. Tooth-colored restorative material? Genius! Titanium screws that anchor into the bone? Brilliant! And yet if any of these dentists from the past asked how you detect caries in 2017, what would you tell them? "Well, we look at the teeth, we shoot x-rays at them, and we stab them with something pointy to see if they're mushy." Pretty much the same way we've done it since the First World War.
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Of course, we do have incredible imaging technology today, but the majority of dental practices have been slow to adopt it into everyday use. Caries detection devices, cone beam units, and intraoral cameras are three major advancements that help us solve diagnostic mysteries and clearly communicate with patients. This issue of DE is dedicated to the tech that helps us see more.
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An investment in diagnostic and imaging devices will arguably provide the most immediate return on your investment. But, more importantly, you'll be a better guardian of your patients' oral health. It's fun to think of what we might be capable of in 2027, but in the meantime we should offer patients the incredible technology that's available right now.
Chris Salierno, DDS