Disruptive Technology in Dentistry – Rethinking the Model

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Disruptive Technology in Dentistry - Rethinking the Model

Dentistry is no longer just about the extraction of diseased teeth. Dentistry today has allowed individuals to keep their teeth for an extended period of time because currently there are various procedures to repair damaged teeth, consisting predominantly of fillings, crowns and implants. However this reformative tendency has greatly increased with a large percentage of daily dental treatments consisting of substituting older dentistry. This is known as the restorative staircase. However, the issue is that the only way a dental clinic generates revenue is by carrying out new procedures because currently there is no compelling business model for prevention. The key factor towards the prevention of tooth decay can be attributed to the introduction of fluoridated toothpastes from consumer oral health organisations. Therefore, there is a necessity to revamp the system.

Modern Dentistry involves:

  • Psychosocial dimension: Feeling happy with your smile – orthodontics, prosthodontics, cosmetic dentistry
  • Health dimension: No disease in the mouth – gum disease, tooth decay, root canals, jaw pain, oral cancer

Technology can be leveraged to modify a solution that tailors to the population. The optimal answer to the challenge comprises of three components leading to a sustainable approach to oral health:

  • Continuous digital monitoring of oral health for early detection of disease – Telemonitoring
  • Preventive, interceptive and reparative at home solutions – Teletreatment
  • In-Clinic minimally invasive reparative, regenerative and enhancing solutions – In clinic treatment

In the future, technologies such as computer vision and saliva based diagnostics can assist in overseeing health at home. Remote assessments will become mainstream, allowing trends to be identified and conditions to be identified at the earliest stage before the issues aggravate. New solutions such as the nanotechnology based advanced and rinses will be designed to help overcome tooth decay and gum diseases by altering the surface susceptibilities or properties of teeth and even at home remote-supervised 3D printed custom-made appliance therapy can straighten teeth and protect teeth from grinding, making orthodontics available to all.

Dental disease is a problem that cannot be managed through monitoring and algorithmic forecast. Individuals will have access to their own records and dental history and the system can be able to forecast and pinpoint the periods of possible worsening dental health so that corrective measures can be carried out in time through a more transparent method. Thereby allowing the possibility of frequent health monitoring and remote treatment, helping to advance modern dentistry.

Now, even in the most developed countries, half of the population do not visit the dentist. However, in the future, visits to the dental clinics will not be necessary as dentists will have complete lists of digital and physical patients, monitoring and managing them concurrently, supervising regenerative and reparative courses of remote treatment patients are having at home, and planning and delivering efficient treatments in the clinic thereafter.

Source: The Journal of mHealth

Participate in the upcoming QS Subject Focus Summit – Dentistry under the theme of “Changing Paradigm in Dental Education for Future Excellence” from 4-6 April 2019 in Seoul, South Korea.