What the future holds for dental technology

Dental technology innovation will bring more efficiency and accuracy to practices, according to Barry Lyon, DDS. 

Dr. Lyon is a chief dental officer for the division of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry at Sarasota, Fla.-based DSO Dental Care Alliance. He recently spoke with Becker's about why he is excited about where dental technology is headed.

Editor's note: This Q&A is part of a weekly series featuring Dr. Lyon focused on topics in the dental industry and DSO field. This response was lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What are you most excited about for dentistry and/or DSOs in 2024?

Dr. Barry Lyon: Dentistry has been exceptionally fortunate to be on the receiving end of numerous advances in technology. It has made treating patients more efficient and [provided] more predictable results. As we head toward 2024 and beyond, I am excited at the prospect of even more technological advances that improve patient care.

Imagine if dentists practicing 20 years ago knew there would be lasers to treat any number of dental conditions that would normally require more invasive procedures. Imagine if those same dentists knew they could discard their impression materials and utilize digital scans to create higher quality prosthetics than ever before. Imagine if those same dentists could go from two-dimensional images to three-dimensional images to diagnose and treat patients. These are things we take for granted today that would utterly amaze dentists 20 years ago. 

What is in store for tomorrow’s dentists? Advances in high-quality digital information will allow dentists to use the human genome to pinpoint susceptibility to certain types of oral disease. Recently developed "S-Ray" technology will allow dentists to diagnose caries and tooth fractures better than conventional X-rays and without harmful radiation. Facial scanners such as the Vectra system will utilize 3D imaging technology to capture images of a patient’s face and mouth to create more detailed, customized treatment plans.

The future of technology for dentistry is exciting. It will lead to new skill sets for dentists and better care for patients.

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