Technology in Dentistry


​By: Anjali Bhatia ’19

With new and exciting technologies being discovered every day, it should be of no surprise to any healthcare professional that the image of a profession can change in an instant due to exciting new inventions. From old to new, from past to future, materials and methods are constantly being exchanged for more efficient procedures. While new procedures can be applied to any career, how new technology affects dentistry reveals shocking insight into just how quickly the dental profession is changing year by year.

​Any dental student will notice the shift in technology within dentistry simply by conversing with various professors and lab faculty. “This isn’t how we did it in my day!” “We didn’t even use gloves when we first started!” and “You all have it so easy now!” are all phrases that are commonplace in any dental school today. Although these might incite rolled eyes from students, it begs the question, where will the profession be when we start practicing? The materials may even change within the five years it takes us to create a stable career for ourselves.
New nanotechnologies and CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) research will inevitably only lead to more efficient workplace procedures and better prosthetic results for the patient. Emerging Nanotechnologies in Dentistry states, “Nanomaterials will be used far more widely and will yield superior properties combined with biotechnology, laser, and digital guided surgery will thus provide excellent dental care.” (Subramani 14). With additional research, CAD/CAM technology is able to create more natural and better-fitting veneers, crowns, and dental prostheses for patients. According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, advantages to CAD/CAM technology in the office include, “same day dentistry treatment, no need for provisionalization, and [may] possibly eliminate the need for a second, follow-up appointment when inserting prostheses.” (Dimatteo). Although the technology can recreate the original teeth, the dentist still requires an ability to fine-tune the products.

So what is in store for the future of dentistry? As technology advances, we can only expect more efficient work spaces and a smooth experience for the patient if the dentist is well trained in the technology. Thus, as dental students, we must be mindful to keep up with the new technologies to stay at the forefront of dental technology. Tune in to our ASDA newsletter this coming year for an expanded look into dental technology and how Penn is keeping up with the ever-changing field.
Nanotechnology and the Future of Dentistry. In: Subramani K and Ahmed W eds. Emerging Nanotechnology in Dentistry: Materials, Processes, and Applications. Waltham, MA: William Andrew, Elsevier Inc; 2012.

Dimatteo A. Shaping dentistry with CAD/CAM technology . Accessed September 27, 2017.

About the Author: Anjali Bhatia is a current D3 and also serves on the board as a contributing editor.