Modern dentistry is evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to concurrent advancements in technology at large. While the wealth of techniques available today is undoubtedly exciting, it can also be somewhat intimidating for those who don't fully understand their options. If you're feeling somewhat left behind by the variety of dental treatment options currently in use, and would like to improve your knowledge, read on. This article will introduce you to the ideas and potential uses of two of the most exciting new techniques being used in contemporary dentistry.
Air Abrasion: A Welcome Alternative to Drilling
As you probably are well aware by now, the traditional method of removing a cavity or other form of tooth decay is with a drill. This can be both time consuming and--worse still--painful. That isn't all, however. Dental drilling also poses a risk of chipping, fracturing, or damaging your tooth in some other way. Though relatively rare, this scenario can be expensive to correct.
Air abrasion represents a safer and less painful way of accomplishing the same task as a manual drill. The general idea behind air abrasion is that a stream of tiny, sand-like particles are projected at your tooth. The air abrasion apparatus allows this to be accomplished with a high degree of accuracy. For that reason, it may not even be necessary for a dentist to administer an anesthetic when using air abrasion.
Like all dental techniques, air abrasion has its limits. Generally its use is reserved for the treatment of so-called early stage cavities--in other words, those that have not yet eaten all the way through the enamel. Deeper or more serious forms of decay will often still necessitate the use of a dental drill. That's because air abrasion is not capable of removing decay unless it is present on the surface of the tooth.
CAD/CAM: Modeling Made Easier
CAD/CAM--an acronym that stands for computer-aided design and manufacturing--is a well known system of creating three dimensional models. Yet only recently has it made its debut in the dental world. In the short time since it has been introduced, however, CAD/CAM has provided a revolutionary new way to create a range of dental prostheses, from crowns, to bridges, to veneers.
Traditional methods of creating dental prostheses were notoriously slow. But in the CAD/CAM process, a prosthesis can often be created in the course of a single visit. First a model of the patient's mouth is made using fiber-optic cameras. The three-dimensional data produced in this way