Dentistry, as with all science and medical technology, is constantly evolving and changing. The way we practice dentistry in our office today is very different from the way we did things when we got to Llano seven years ago. The more you learn, the more you find you need to learn.
To most patients, the “behind the scenes” stuff is irrelevant. People just want to be treated gently, respected, listened to, and understood. Most of the fixing teeth is actually secondary to having a dentist and a dental team who treats you right. New filling materials that last longer, place faster, and polish better never really do impress anyone besides us dentists.
The real question is, “How has dentistry improved from a patient perspective?”
I’ll do my best to catalogue, although it’s hard not to think like a dentist.
Office design has greatly improved over the past twenty years. From a comfortable reception area, to the size of the dental operatories, to the comfort of the dental chairs, modern dental offices are starting to resemble salons and spas more than old clinical hospital rooms. Special touches help to make the overall experience less stressful and more relaxing.
Anesthetic has greatly improved. The key to a comfortable dental appointment always starts with profound and lasting anesthesia. We have an arsenal of safe and proven ways to get teeth numb so they can be fixed comfortably. If it’s not numb, ask your dentist not to start until it is. Along with stronger anesthetic, we have effective medicines to treat anxiety and make appointments less stressful.
Technology has helped in many ways. Wifi access, patient televisions, and ambient sound systems all help to take patients minds off the task at hand. Most dental procedures take less time than ever, thanks to multiple techniques and materials that speed up treatment while making patients more comfortable and producing better results.
Things are getting quieter. New drills are constantly being developed that are quieter and gentler on teeth.
Anesthetic can be reversed. There is now a reversal agent that helps numbness wear off quicker.
Perfect smiles are more accessible than ever. Braces can be clear or tooth colored and move teeth faster than ever before. Ceramic veneers can be more conservative and more lifelike. Complete dentures now have teeth and gums that can hardly be distinguished from the real deal. Implants give people their teeth back.
I’m proud to say that dentistry gets a little better each and every day. I cannot wait to see how much better we’re doing things ten years from now. Hopefully, we’ll just keep climbing higher.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish through www.ParrishDental.com.