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Dentistry: It’s Not the Same Old Drill

Imagine going to your dentist's office without hearing the whirring of a high-speed drill—sounds nice, doesn’t it?

New developments in dental technology eventually may replace the drill for certain procedures. And that isn’t all that’s on the horizon. Here are only a few of the many advances dental experts see when they look into the future.

Laser Surgery

Already, an intense beam of laser light is being used to remove ulcers and operate on gums. Lasers have been licensed to remove cavities to fill teeth, and they are also being studied for their use in strengthening teeth to prevent decay.

Dentist using laser on woman's teeth

Digital X-Rays

Some dental professionals are already using digital X-ray machines. Digital pictures allow the dental professional to adjust the image to make them lighter or darker and to see the condition of your teeth in greater detail. They also expose patients to less radiation and don’t take as long as traditional X-rays to develop.

The Soundest Advice

Technological advances aside, the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy are still tried and true. Follow these suggestions:

  • Brush your teeth gently at least twice a day, paying special attention to the gum line.

  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and help freshen your breath.

  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.

  • The combined process of brushing and flossing should take about three to four minutes. Here’s a suggestion: Brush for the length of one song on the radio or use an egg timer to keep pace.

“Why Do I Need X-Rays?” Academy of General Dentistry, October 2008. www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article.Accessed 2013.

“Lasers.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/l/lasers.aspx. Accessed 2013.

“Brushing Your Teeth.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association, March 14, 2005. www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth.aspx. Accessed 2013.

"Flossing." Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing.aspx. Accessed 2013.

“What Is the Best Technique for Brushing?” Academy of General Dentistry, February 2007. www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article. Accessed 2013.

“Technology: Dental Light Sabers: Coming Soon?” Academy of General Dentistry, June 2005. www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article. Accessed 2013.

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