Dental Trends to Watch for in 2016
Best practices in the dental industry continue to change rapidly, and initiatives to emphasize the importance of dental health are currently underway throughout Canada. With more and more people demanding effective dental health solutions, we are likely to see a number of impressive innovations in the dental field in 2016.

Innovators are increasingly focusing on efficient solutions that will help industry professionals deliver better, faster, and more accurate dental services. One of the overarching trends in 2015, the continued introduction of digital technologies, is likely to accelerate further in the coming year. Let’s examine a few specific dental trends to watch for in 2016.

The Proliferation of Digital Impressions

Systems for taking digital impressions continue to expand their reach, and the industry is increasingly adopting systems that are capable of providing greater accuracy and contributing to more efficient workflow.

While digital impressions aren’t entirely new, the focus on improving impressions systems will be a large part of the dental industry’s development in 2016. Companies like Dental Wings, Align Technology, and 3Shape are driving improved systems that boast tinier, higher-quality cameras, faster scan times, more accurate shade matching, and much more.

3D Modeling

While digital impressions will facilitate more efficient workflow by improving in-office milling capabilities, fostering faster returns from the lab, and producing more accurate restorations, advances in 3D printing technology are also set to significantly improve patient care in 2016.

3D printers like the Objet260 Dental Selection model, developed by Stratasys, will soon be adopted to provide full color models that accurately depict the difference in teeth and gum tissue. Printers like this can serve as surgical guides by providing doctors with complete models of a patient’s tooth and nerve anatomy. In addition to improving lab workflow, these printers will also help dentists provide clearer case presentations that help patients understand the specific reasoning behind their dentist’s personal recommendations.

Decreasing Cost of Intraoral Cameras

Imaging is another area in which improvements should be expected in 2016. Intraoral cameras have traditionally been so expensive that the benefits of their improved imaging technology haven’t been justified. However, a company called MouthWatch recently introduced intraoral cameras complete with simple USB connections, LED lighting, and diagnostic image resolutions.

While their cameras provide the same services as many other cameras, they are available at nearly one-tenth of the cost, which means many dentists that were previously cautious about adopting such an expensive technology will now be able to equip every treatment room with these useful imaging tools.

Developments in Laser Technology

Over the past few years, dental lasers have gone from being touted as a “cutting-edge technology” to falling out of favor with many practicing dentists. This quick rise and subsequent fall in popularity has been especially pronounced with multi-tissue lasers, but the field has been somewhat revitalized over the course of the last twelve months, and advancements in laser technology should be widely expected in 2016.

While concerns about the technology’s limited uses have slowed widespread adoption, recently developed lasers have vastly expanded the list of procedures that can feasibly be performed with laser technology. For example, the new WaterLase iPlus 2.0 all-tissue lasers recently introduced by BIOLASE are specifically designed to cut both hard and soft tissue. The laser comes with various on-board settings that guide a dental clinician through different laser perio treatments.

Implants Continue to Improve

Although dental implants are far from a novel idea, improvement in surgical systems and restorative connections will drive improved quality of implants through 2016. Nobel Biocare, for example, has been working with angled drivers to improve the ability to place implant access holes at more favorable angles.

This improvement is especially relevant for anterior implants, where bone angulation can limit screw access. With the ability to secure the retention screw at an angle, dentists will now be able to place access holes for implants towards the lingual, rather than being limited to securing screw access toward the facial only.

The Next Generation of Anesthetic Buffering

The general concept behind a buffered anesthetic is that it takes hold faster as a result of its’ neutral ph. Sodium bicarbonate has traditionally been used as the buffering agent, but difficulties in keeping the chemical stable have limited its’ operating use. In a recent development, Anutra Medical has introduced their local anesthetic delivery system, which uses a multi-dose syringe with a shelf life of four days.

An Overarching Trend

While these are just a few of the specific technologies likely to be widely adopted in the dental field in 2016, the industry, in general, will continue to move away from “old stone models” and adopt digital technologies capable of drastically improving workflow and service quality. With operating costs on the rise and many PPOs decreasing compensation for dental services, many practitioners will be forced to adopt the latest digital innovations in dentistry in order to remain viable and efficient.


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Posted by: DSR
Monday, November 2, 2015
Tag: Dental
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