What Is the Future of Dentistry?

Rapid technological progress has transformed virtually every industry on the planet—and dentistry is no exception. Advancements in technology have made the practice of dentistry more accurate, efficient, and predictable in a number of ways.

Technology isn’t the only factor influencing the future of dentistry. Cultural trends and educational efforts are shifting people’s relationship with their teeth. The result is a number of promising trends that are currently reshaping the future of dentistry. Here are five of them.  

1. There’s a better understanding of the connection between dental health and whole-body health.

Spurred by research and better dental education, more and more people are realizing that the mouth is the gateway to the body—so the health of your mouth is going to play a role in the health of your body as a whole. As people begin to better understand this connection, they’re paying more attention to dental health and overall well being and heading to the dentist for more frequent cleanings.

2. People are keeping their teeth longer.

The average lifespan is increasing across the country and the globe. You would think that having more elderly people on earth would increase the number of people who have lost their teeth. But in fact, the exact opposite is proving true: Even as people are living longer, denture rates are going down.

There are two possible explanations for this development. For starters (as noted above), people are more aware of the importance of taking good care of their teeth. Additionally, dentists have many more options available to them in terms of procedures that can help preserve teeth, such as root canals. Combined, these factors are resulting in unprecedented tooth longevity.

3. Cosmetic procedures are on the rise.

Not only are people keeping their teeth longer, but they’re also investing in more teeth enhancements. From whitening solutions to veneers, adult braces, and almost invisible aligners, American adults are investing in the appearance of their teeth. This trend has been on the rise for the past few years and is only expected to increase.

4. Veneers are getting more accurate.

Of the many cosmetic dental procedures that are on the rise, veneers are one of the most popular. The rise of veneers has been facilitated by changes in the way veneers are produced. For starters, labs are now creating computer-generated veneers, which means veneers arrive faster and fit better than they ever have. The quality of veneers has also risen as impression materials have improved. Soon most practices will switch to using pictures instead of impressions, which will help ensure even greater accuracy when it comes to fit.

5. Robots are entering dental offices.

It sounds very sci-fi, but in fact the future is already here when it comes to robots in dentistry. Lab technician robots are dramatically changing the process for a variety of dental procedures, including crowns and veneers. These robots can create new veneers or crowns in a matter of minutes, which exponentially speeds up these processes. Because of their ability to improve accuracy and efficiency, expect lab technician robots to become increasingly common in the field of dentistry.

The future of dentistry isn’t informed solely by technological advancements, although those certainly play a big role. Instead, a combination of cultural, educational, and technological factors are aligning to transform the dental industry in 2017 and beyond.