Is your dental practice taking advantage of new technologies and the ways they can be applied to the work you do?
Healthcare technology is one of the fastest evolving sectors of business IT in the world, and for good reason. It’s not just about delivering a great user experience, or keeping the total cost of ownership reasonable; it’s about improving the way healthcare professionals interact with and treat patients.
Are you keeping up with the latest developments in technology and how they apply to the work you do every day?
Artificial intelligence is a technology that allows computers to correctly make decisions that would otherwise be left up to users.
The two primary popular forms this has taken in the consumer and business worlds to date include:
In the dental industry, AI will become a more and more common part of your work, being used to analyze large data sets and assist with clinical decisions.
Year by year, more consumer technology becomes “smart”. This refers to the networking of common household items like fridges, thermostats, and even toothbrushes, which gives them advanced capabilities and features.
Smart toothbrushes can track and analyze brushing performance to provide insight and feedback to users, or play games with children via an app that will promote healthier habits.
Augmented & Virtual Reality
Whereas VR simulators were once only used for training military and air force personnel, developments in the technology have made it cost-effective enough to bring it into other sectors, like the dental office.
Similarly, Augmented Reality (which enhances the real-world environment with overlaid information) can be applied to educational environments and even improve the patient experience.
AR and VR can be used in concert with a physical dummy to help dental students get a hands-on and risk-free learning experience, and they can also help patients undergoing more intensive reconstruction surgery to see what they’ll look like after the procedure.
Teledentistry is the remote alternative to in-person care, utilizing technology so that professionals can work with their patients remotely. It’s the process of equipping dental staff with the right technologies to support communication and collaboration in the effort to provide dental care for patients.
Teledentistry is particularly important right now because it allows you to maintain social distance without entirely ceasing the vital services your organization delivers.
Computer-assisted design and 3D printing technologies have the potential to streamline a number of conventionally tedious processes. Say you need a crown for a patient — whereas you would normally have to mold a temporary while you wait for a permanent from the lab, with 3D printing, you can make the permanent crown right in your office.
For as long as people have been getting into dentist chairs, dentists have been asking them to “open wide”. Sometimes, no matter how wide a patient opens their mouth, and no matter how you position your light and mirrors, it can be difficult to get a look at that one tooth — but no longer.
The development of higher quality and smaller cameras has paved the way for inter-oral cameras, which are small enough to sit on the end of an instrument and enter directly inside the mouth, streaming footage to a nearby device.
Perhaps the most “sci-fi” inclusion on this list, regenerative dentistry refers to the very recent development of methods that promote self-healing teeth. In one case, the University of Nottingham and Harvard University have created fillings that allow the tooth to heal itself. Once further developed and explored this technology could vastly reduce the need for prostheses.
This genome editing methodology could have exciting applications in dental medicine, helping to lower the risk of oral cancer, or even limit the effectiveness of bacteria that produces plaque.
The reality is that, since the healthcare industry is so vast and the need for constantly improving technology is so considerable, there’s no end of options available to you. With so many vendors vying for your business, how can you narrow down the options and choose the best one for you?
It’s all about finding the one that has the features that will really support the work you do every day – improving not just your experience as a healthcare professional, but your patients’ experience too.
If you need expert assistance finding the right technologies for your practice, don’t hesitate to get in touch. NOVA Computer Solutions is here to help general dentistry practices like yours find the best solutions for their needs.
As a consultant to dental practices, I help my clients maximize what can be done with their technology to maximize production and profit.