Technology has affected virtually every area of our lives, and dental health is no exception. Just as technology has changed the way of modern medicine, so has it changed the way that dental treatment is doled out. Whereas in medieval days, there were certain dental conditions that you simply had to live with, nowadays, modern technology has made it so that almost any type of dental condition can be treated. If you’re simply not happy with your dental appearance, then there are plenty of dental prosthetics that can be manufactured with the usage of all the dental technology found in laboratories.
Types of Dental Technology
There are numerous types of dental technology. In fact, most dentists utilize dental technology at some point or another throughout their dental practices. For instance, almost all dentists nowadays like to have X-rays conducted of their patients teeth so that they can glean a better understanding of the structures of their teeth and jaws. The X-rays, of course, must be done with sophisticated X-ray technology, and this alone significantly assists dentists in determining the underlying causes for many of their patients’ dental conditions and helps them come up with the most appropriate treatments for those issues. Additionally, there are numerous types of dental X-rays as well, such as those that provide a view of both the upper and lower teeth as well as those that provide a closeup view of an individual tooth. The types of X-rays that your dentist orders will depend upon the specific type of dental treatment that you need.
In addition to X-ray technology, though, there is another type of dental technology that is commonly used throughout the dental professional, and that is dental prosthetics. In fact, next to X-rays, dental prosthetics are the most commonly used application of dental technology. Dental prosthetics are simply the dental appliances that are fabricated in a dental laboratory with all the dental technology made available to us nowadays. There are four primary types of dental prosthetics, and these make up the different primary disciplines within the study that is dental technology.
Fixed prosthetics refer to those dental appliances that are designed to restore the look and function of natural teeth in the mouth, and they are fixed in place, hence the term “fixed prosthetics.” This essentially means that they are not removable, and once your dentist places them within your mouth, they are permanent and are there to stay. Crowns, bridges, implants and other such dental appliances are examples of fixed prosthetics. All these kinds of prosthetics are fabricated in a dental laboratory and then affixed within your mouth. In order to ensure that they are properly constructed to fit within your specific mouth, however, dentists usually use a putty-like substance to take an impression of your teeth. The impression is then sent off to the dental laboratory where lab technicians utilize complicated dental technology to form the replacement teeth after the impression that was taken of your mouth.
Of course, the type of fixed prosthetics that you choose to get depend upon numerous factors, such as which ones you are an ideal candidate for as well as what your personal preference are. For instance, while some people might prefer to have dental implants placed within their mouths, if they don’t have sufficient bone structure to support the implants, then they might not be ideal candidates for the procedure. Instead, they might need to settle for bridges that anchor the replacement tooth within the mouth by abutting it next to sturdy, permanent teeth.
Likewise, as its name implies, removable prosthetics are those dental appliances that are able to be removed from the mouth. Because these types of dental appliances are permanently affixed within the mouth, they do not offer the most natural-looking or feeling solutions to missing teeth or whatever other issues that are addressing. Therefore, they also tend to be one of the more affordable, missing tooth replacement options. They, too, must be fabricated within a dental laboratory, and they also require that an impression be taken beforehand to ensure that the appliances are properly molded to fit the patient’s mouth. The most common types of removal prosthetics include dentures and removable veneers that clip over the teeth.
As with fixed prosthetics, the type of removable prosthetics that are best for you depend upon various factors, such as your budget and whether or not you have sufficient tooth structure for the removal appliances to fit on. In some cases, you might have to have tiny notches or holes drilled into your teeth in order to provide a secure resting place for partial plates and dentures to hook to in order to keep them secure within your mouth. If you do, your dentist will likely have to employ the use of some sort of mechanical dental device to drill the holes, which is another type of dental technology.
Maxillofacial prosthetics are some of the most complicated types of dental prosthetics constructed. These are the ones that include the ocular and craniofacial prosthetics that are commonly fabricated to help restore the appearance and function of patients with cleft palates, cleft lips, sleep apnea and other disorders that interfere with the flow of air through the mouth and nasal passages. Because these types of dental prosthetics are so complex, they tend to require the utilization of the most advanced form of dental technology, and an entire team of dental professionals usually collaborates on the treatment of patients in need of maxillofacial treatment. The efforts of numerous lab technicians is also usually required in the construction of some of these more advanced types of dental prosthetics.
Another one of the most common types of dental appliances utilized in the dental field are orthodontic ones. Examples of some of the most common types of orthodontic appliances include braces, mouthguards, retainers and orthodontic headgear. As with all the other types of dental appliances mentioned, these orthodontic appliances are fabricated within dental laboratories and require that X-rays and impressions of patients’ teeth be made in order to ensure accuracy in their construction. Also, like with the other appliances, the type of appliance that you need depends upon numerous factors, such as your particular teeth and jaw structure, your preferences and what you want to accomplish with orthodontic treatment.
Nowadays there are even more orthodontic options available to patients than there once was. For instance, instead of settling for traditional metal braces, you can choose to get clear or colored ones. Additionally, you can even choose to get invisible braces that consist of clear trays specifically designed to help shift and straighten your teeth over time without anyone ever being any the wiser. Additionally, there are even hidden braces that are positioned on the inside of the teeth rather than the outside where they won’t be as visible and so on. Regardless of what type of braces or other orthodontic appliances you end up getting treated with, though, they are all fashioned with the usage of advanced dental technology.
Does My Insurance Cover Treatment With Advanced Dental Technology?
Whether or not your insurance covers dental treatment with the latest innovations and treatment methods that dental technology has to offer depends upon your specific insurance company as well as the specifics that govern your particular insurance plan. While some insurance companies might cover the cost of basic dental treatment, others might go further and cover the cost of more extensive dental treatment. Almost every dental plan covers basic dental cleanings, routine checkups and so on, but unless you have a more extensive dental plan, then yours might not cover the extensive cost associated with elaborate dental prosthetic fabrication. Before seeking a certain type of dental treatment, it’s best to speak with your insurance company and determine the type of dental coverage that you have as well as what all it covers. Also, most dental offices can assist you and speak with your insurance company on your behalf to determine whether or not the cost of their services are covered under your specific insurance policy.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. “What is the prevalence of various types of prosthetic dental restorations in Europe?” Retrieved on February 14, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17594367.
National Center for Biotechnology Information
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American Dental Association. “Dental laboratory technology.” Retrieved on February 14, 2017, from http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/careers-in-dentistry/dental-team-careers/dental-laboratory-technology.
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