Modern dental healthcare is believed to have roots in prehistoric era, where asphalt tooth fillings and rubber dentures delivered ear to ear smile, later only finding their place shelved in museums and textbooks, quietly waiting, to be pondered upon as harbingers of today’s ground breaking techniques, endowed with precision of Micro technology.
What exactly is Micro Technology?
The word micro originates from greek mikros meaning small, one millionth of a meter. Also known as Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System MEMS, micro technology redefines mechanical systems ranging from tooth brushes to train engines, by miniaturizing processes thereby maximizing productivity. This is made possible with a seamless incorporation of microprocessors, microchips, microsensors, into a single entity. What biology is to human body, micro technology is to robotics.
How does Micro Technology affect me?
Micro technology has its usage in a myriad of day to day applications like, mobile phones, printers, car airbags, and solar panels. Medicine has utilised micro technology to perform microsurgical techniques at tiniest single cell level. Silicon based microgripping tissue forceps, biosensors for blood pressure monitoring, microactuators fitted in robotic surgery, all are based upon principles adapted from the microelectronics industry.
How is Dental healthcare relevant and what role does micro technology has to play?
Dentistry is a branch of medicine which involves detecting, diagnosing and treating diseases related to teeth and oral cavity. Dental healthcare thus forms a therapeutic domain which permits use of a variety of techniques aimed at resolving such issues, restoring and rehabilitating healthy form and function of and around the oral cavity. While treating maladies of teeth, the dentist works with a microscopic vision to achieve results with a telescopic sight. Micro technology has contributed significantly in modern dental practice to supplement quality of dental healthcare in following key areas:
With the advent of digital radiographs using micro chip based Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor CMOS technology, on screen imaging within blink of an eye is possible with benefits of image enhancement like contrast, sharpness and density without additional exposure to radiation. Three dimensional cone beam computed tomography 3D CBCT further adds a feather in the cap in dental imaging, enabling the dentist to view a single tooth in more than sixty angles. This phenomenally reduces chances of a disease to be missed, apart from serving as an adjunct for a pin-point diagnosis.
Piezoelectric scalers and lasers:
Next time when you visit a dentist don’t forget to ask what instrument your teeth are getting cleaned by. Contemporary piezoelectric scalers use microscale tips to clean teeth and mechanically dislodge heavy salt deposits which cause great damage to your gums. Lasers which are the modern day painless surgical knives, too employ micro technological basics of light emission and stimulation of photons to cut hard dental tissue as well as surgically debride pyorrhea causing bad bacteria.
Implants and Dentures:
Computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology has made prototyping of crowns, bridges in single appointment an instant reality. Silicon based abutments are in the offing which promise 99.99% adhesion of the implant to the gum tissue resulting in bacteria-free dental implants. Patients already have a choice of laser sintered hydroxyapatite implants which mimic the ideal natural tooth structure to aid in mastication and speech function.
Microfluidics and Micromagnetics:
Viable solutions to complex diseases such as trigeminal neuralgia and halitosis (bad breath) are now within the dental researcher’s reach, as the new age technique of micro fluidics is helping them to study microscopically tooth-nerve association and dental bio film, the underlying factor for dental plaque formation, a hub for bacterial growth. Interestingly, micromagnetics, another subset of micro technology, has made a dentist’ work ergonomically easier by introducing clear mouth mirrors devoid of any moisture or contamination. These hi-tech mouth mirrors come with rechargeable batteries and in built micro magnetic ceramic ball bearings which reduce a good amount of chair side time.
Local Drug Delivery:
Iron coated microparticles using a non-invasive approach actively deliver medications to reduce pulpal inflammation and keep the tooth healthy and vital. Local drug delivery to the target site is made feasible with a minimal intervention approach using a micromagnetic model. Restoration is done with naonhybrid composite restorations retaining the original contour and color of natural tooth, thus giving you that confident bright smile.
What Lies Ahead?
Micro technology has shown promising results in cost effectiveness, time saving and better treatment outcome. Future holds wider horizons as the focus unearths newer realms of nanomaterials like nanocarbon, nanozirconia, graphene and nanosilver. What micro technology has made possible, more and more number of modern dental practices are embracing the time tested modalities coupled with state of art infrastructure. Visit the nearest dental clinic to find the best technology for the best modern day dental experience.