A Root Canal

3 Technologies That Are Making Dentistry More Patient-Friendly

Getting dental treatment is definitely important for your health and for cosmetic reasons, but many people don't think of the dentist's office as a particularly patient-friendly place. This is often especially true for patients who had a lot of dental work as children – early memories of a painful experience with the dental drill or an extraction accompanied by a lot of blood can cause you to dread the dentist well into adulthood.

Thankfully, many dental practices are embracing new technology in an effort to make their procedures more patient-friendly, and that means more than just providing headphones to block out the sounds of the drill. Take a look at the details of some of the more recent technologies that are improving the dental experience for patients.

Laser Dentistry

When you think of laser dentistry, chances are that the first thing you picture are high-tech tooth whitening treatments. But while lasers are an effective tooth whitening tool, they're also used for other things, like treating and reshaping the gums of patients suffering from periodontal disease and removing tissue for biopsies. They can also be used to remove decay from teeth.

Why is this important? The use of lasers has many benefits, but from a patient perspective, the most important benefits might be that lasers result in less pain and bleeding than traditional dental tools. Lasers allow for more precision, so there is less of a chance that the dentist will remove healthy tooth tissue along with decay. And laser beams encourage blood to clot, which means that biopsies and gum surgeries result in less blood loss. If the thought of the drill makes you anxious, choosing a dentist who uses laser tools instead can eliminate a lot of psychological stress that you may have about seeking dental treatment.

Air Abrasion Drilling

Air abrasion drilling is another great alternative to traditional drills. While air abrasion is not strictly a new technique – it was first developed in the 1940s – it's only recently caught on as improvements have been made to the old machine designs.

Air abrasion works by using compressed air to blow aluminum oxide powder onto the tooth being worked on. The technique is far more gentle than traditional drills – so much so, in fact, that many patients don't need a numbing shot in order to receive the treatment. If you're afraid of needles, opting for a dental practice that offers air abrasion drilling gives you a way to have your cavities treated without having to endure the needle full of Novocain first. You'll also avoid the sound and feel of the drill – air abrasion machines are very quiet and don't cause heat or vibration the way that traditional drills do. Not only can air abrasion be used on new cavities, but it can also be used to remove white fillings that need to be replaced (however, it's not recommended for silver fillings.)

Ozone Therapy

Gentler methods of filling cavities are all well and good, but wouldn't it be better if the cavity didn't need to be filled in the first place – if the damage could be caught early and reversed before a filling was needed? If your dentist uses ozone therapy, that might be the case.

Most of the time, when people think of ozone, they're thinking of the layer of ozone in the stratosphere that absorbs UV light, helping to prevent sunburns and skin cancers. Ozone, otherwise known as O3, can also be thought of as activated oxygen. The extra molecule makes ozone less stable than O2, the air that you breathe. Because of this instability, when ozone is introduced to a tooth in the early stages of decay, it creates a reaction that kills off the bacteria causing the decay and can even stimulate the tooth to begin remineralization, essentially healing the tooth. Although ozone can't heal an advanced cavity, it can definitely help prevent one from developing if the decay is caught early. This treatment is gentle and minimally invasive, so it has the potential to save patients from any discomfort associated with ordinary cavity treatment.

When you're choosing a dental practice, one of the things that you should ask about is what kinds of technology the clinic uses. When you choose a practice that uses newer and more patient-friendly technology, you'll have a better experience and you'll be more likely to seek dental treatment when you need it. The result is that you'll have a healthier mouth.

For more information and options, talk with different local dental clinics in your area, such as Family Dental Center TriCities, PC.