Medical technology has advanced at a rapid pace over the last several decades. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s dentists were using amalgam, or silver, fillings for almost all patients. Today, most dentists are using resin composite fillings at a much more affordable cost. While general fillings have advanced tremendously, nothing has advanced as much as X-Ray technology. Many people can remember the X-Ray risks from the 1980’s. When a dentist or orthodontist took an X-Ray it was a very serious process that often took up to 15 minutes. Today, that process is much quicker and easier.
One of the companies that has greatly changed the X-Ray process is Sirona. In the summer of 2015 Sirona released the 2015 CEREC Omnicam which allows orthodontists the opportunity to create a 3D imaging scan with Dolphin software. This technology is light years ahead of most orthodontics technology that was available just one decade ago.
One of the newest procedures in the orthodontics industry is Invisalign. When visiting the orthodontist or dentist’s office most patients will notice “invisible braces” on display. While we think this is a good idea the general consensus is “does that really straighten my teeth?” Anyone born prior to 1990 can remember the “metal mouth” part of their life in which they had metal braces to straighten their teeth during the teenage years. Today, there is not a requirement for metal braces to straighten teeth.
Invisalign treatment uses a serious of aligners to straighten teeth. Think of it as a very small and tight mouthpiece. Invisalign “retainers” are worn for two week periods and then adjusted based on the expertise of the orthodontist. The CEREC method, or CAD/CAM, is used to scan the teeth and take impressions. The more advanced orthodontists’ offices can go through the entire process in house. Some offices will need to send off to receive the “mouthpiece”.
As we continue to advance with all medical technology it will be interesting to see how the orthodontic and dental industry adjusts. It is no longer the case where patients have to sit in a dental chair for two hours just to get an amalgam filling in one of their molars. It is also no longer the case that it takes six months just to decide if braces or Invisalign is correct for a teenager. CEREC revolutionized the way we care for our teeth and the best has yet to come.
Some dental companies that are publicly traded are:
- Denstply International (XRAY)
- Henry Schein (HSIC)
- Patterson Dental (PDCO)
- Young Innovations (YDNT)