All things considered, 2021 was a pretty unpredictable year. But the team at Integrity Systems & Solutions was honored to be right about a key point—health care professionals from across the country adjusted their practices to meet and overcome the challenges brought on by the ever-shifting mandates and new regulations due to the continuation of the global pandemic.
To get ready for 2022, it’s time to take a look at the biggest dental technology trends we believe will have an impact on the industry.
A smart toothbrush goes beyond today’s electric toothbrush in that it has a sensor in the head of the brush to monitor the user’s tooth brushing habits. Aside from being electric and having a timer like typical electric toothbrushes, a smart toothbrush sends information to your phone app via bluetooth about how hard you brush, if you missed any areas, or if the angle of the toothbrush needs to be adjusted.
Commercially sold smart toothbrushes provide a promising opportunity for dental patients to continually improve their oral hygiene. This information could help patients stay healthier, which is a win for everyone.
3D printers are capable of creating objects from raw plastic materials. The use of these nifty printers has been gaining popularity in fields from aerospace to art and beyond. While 3D Printers are starting to be used in the dental field, we predict that they will infiltrate the realm of surgery more readily in 2022, allowing for more accuracy in restorative and implant procedures.
Dental practices could start using 3D printers for printing simple mouthguards, custom-fit retainers, and more. This will decrease patient wait time and increase patient satisfaction.
3D printing can also help cut down on costs, as 3D printing for molds and other essentials could possibly be done in a single visit with less material waste, allowing physicians to help more patients every day.
Augmented reality (AR) is one of the key dental technology trends to expect in 2022. AR is the process of superimposing computer-generated images over a view of the real world. This is typically done by using smartphones or other internet-capable devices.
Augmented reality provides an opportunity to display information that is not available in real life on a screen.
AR can be used for:
- language translation
- GPS directions
- general instructions
- gaming and entertainment
This same technology is being adapted for use by dentists chairside, allowing them to see accurate illustrations of patients’ mouths, dental history, and more from a single screen.
Some dentist offices also use augmented reality to calm patients with a soothing beach scene or other pleasing visual experience before, during, and after dental procedures. With the limited number of family members allowed to be with a patient because of the pandemic, AR for patient comfort could become very popular.
The term teledentistry is a new one but should make big waves in 2022. Patients can voice-call or video-call their healthcare professional to receive information about discomfort or to ask questions regarding their oral health. This could decrease the number of patients in the waiting room who aren’t even sure if they should be there.
Although it should not be used to diagnose issues, teledentistry could give patients peace of mind in knowing whether their pain or discomfort merits a visit to the office or to a specialist.
Teledentistry could be an opportunity for dentists to earn additional revenue. Televisits could be scheduled between in-house patient visits or after regular business hours.
Intra-oral cameras are devices that doctors use to get high-definition images of patient teeth and gums. These high-tech cameras are described as “systems” because they include a camera unit and a display screen.
The system might include one device like a DSLR camera that has been modified to take photos; other times, the intra-oral camera system will include a pen camera attached to a secondary screen.
A tiny but mighty pen camera allows for a close-up view of a patient’s gumline and teeth without causing discomfort.
A smaller camera could benefit:
- young children
- patients with emotional disorders
- elderly patients
- patients with physical limitations
The fact that intra-oral cameras could give patients a better experience makes this concept one of the most exciting potential dental technology trends of 2022.
Regenerative treatment is the use of biological materials to help patient tissue regrow instead of being replaced or removed.
The pie-in-the-sky goal of this experimental technology is to regrow enamel on teeth, to regrow gum tissue (instead of performing grafts), and to regrow entire teeth with the use of specialized cells and procedures.
While still in the early phases of its development, regenerative dentistry treatments are already influencing the way that healthcare professionals and medical researchers think about the industry and its future.
WHAT DENTAL TECH TRENDS MEAN TO YOU
Dental technology is sure to impact your practice in 2022. Staying on top of these trends and looking into implementing some of the newest technology could help your dental office thrive in the years ahead. If you find yourself trying to keep up with the times, Integrity is here to help.
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