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Computers in Dentistry

November 21st, 2013

When you walk into a dental office, you expect to see computers in use.  At the reception desk and business office, computers handle the schedule, bookkeeping, and patient records.  But the role of computers doesn’t end there.
As dental materials evolve, their handling requires more precision, and that means computers.  Metal crowns require a wax pattern to be created.  This was done by hand until recently.  Now the pattern can be created by CAD/CAM (computer assisted design/ computer assisted manufacture).  The result is a more precise pattern that has an even thickness leading to less metal waste (particularly important with precious metals) and a better structure to apply porcelain over.
Newer restorations are all ceramic and have even mor computer power involved.  The impression that your dentist makes gets scanned into the machine and the crown, onlay, or veneer is milled by a computer controlled cutting machine with very accurate precision.  Your dentist can explain the advantages to the all ceramic restorations and their ideal applications.
And there’s more, much of the orthodontic treatment available is computer assisted as well.  Creation of custom brackets, their placement, and bending of wires can all be done by the computer, allowing the orthodontist more time for diagnosis and final detail in complicated cases.
Be aware, all this technology is expensive and while it is currently available, it may not be cost effective for all procedures or all offices.  The balance between new technologies and materials and what is in the best interest of the patient is constantly being evaluated by your doctor and his staff.  All this new stuff is exciting but may not be worth the costs in the long run.  Always allow your dentist and dental staff to explain what they are doing and why, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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