Dental Technology Trends To Watch in 2018

2018 Dental Technology Watch List

As the new year starts, we look back on our achievements from last year, what we can improve moving forward and are there any new advancements that will help us this calendar year. Technologies are constantly changing and evolving. What will these newer technologies do to our workplace? For now, we will just take a look at some of the dental technology trends we can anticipate on hearing, seeing and learning more about in 2018 at shows, online and through conversations.

3 Dental Trends on the Rise


Effective January 1, 2018, ADA included for the first time teledentistry in the CDT 2018 Dental Procedure Codes. The two codes are as followed:

  • D9995 – synchronous; real-time encounter
  • D9996 – asynchronous; information stored and forwarded to dentist for subsequent review

The ADA’s Comprehensive Policy Statement on Teledentistry states that teledentistry is the use of telehealth systems and methodologies in dentistry. There are four ways to deliver teledentistry to patients.

  1. Live video – This is labeled as synchronous. Patient and dental provider are communicating live through an audio/visual technology communication platform to discuss patient’s information, treatment, care, etc.
  2. Store-and-forward – This method is asynchronous. Patient information, such as x-rays, photographs, video or digital impressions, are delivered to a dental provider by a secure communication system. The dental provider will evaluate the information and provide service to the patient not live or in real-time.
  3. Remote patient monitoring – This process can be either synchronous or asynchronous. As defined by the ADA, remote patient monitoring is “personal health and medical data collection from an individual in one location via electronic communication technologies, which is transmitted to a provider in a different location for use in care and related support of care.”
  4. Mobile health – This delivery method can be labeled as synchronous or asynchronous. Mobile health is the use of mobile communication devices, such as cell phones, tablets and/or personal digital assistants, in health care and public health and education.
Augmented Reality

Many patients dream of having that perfect smile. Consider using augmented reality as part of your treatment plan. Give patients the ability to “try it before they buy it” by showing them instant results on the computer or tablet. Additionally, some dental practices are handing patients a virtual reality (VR) headset to help them relax and improve their dental experience. The VR headset will be placed on the patient where he/she will be “visiting” a relaxing destination of choice instead of seeing what the dentist is doing in the dental operatory.

Augmented reality isn’t just for patients. Dental companies are incorporating virtual reality in product marketing and sales. For example, Patterson office design offers virtual reality tour for dentists to experience design concepts and selections by making them feel as though they are walking through their new office.

The use of virtual reality in dental education will also be a game changer. Virtual and augmented reality systems will help change how students are learning in a clinical setting. Students will get a self assessment on their techniques and knowledge of a specific topic through a virtual reality stimulation course. This will help students to focus on key areas of improvement while reducing cost of having an instructor on-site to assist and train. Students will also be able to record their session and replay it at a later time. Imagine having the ability to perform a procedure through virtual reality where you can experience a “real life” situation, such as a patient is coughing or moving, so that you can adjust your dental performance based on those situations.

Bluetooth Toothbrush

The first electric toothbrush was invented in1954, which connected to a wall outlet. It was designed to help patients with limited motor skills or orthodontic patients. However, it did not gain much attention from consumers until the invention of the cordless electric toothbrush by General Electric. As the demand continues to grow, we see many types of new and innovative electric toothbrush in the market today.

In 2014, the first bluetooth toothbrush was introduced. Bluetooth toothbrush provides patients with real-time data on their brushing habits and suggestions on areas of the mouth that may have been missed during the recommended 2-minute brushing session. The bluetooth toothbrush is connected to a phone application that allows you to track your daily brushing routine, amount of pressure on your gum and areas of your mouth that require extra attention. Are you promoting the use of a bluetooth toothbrush to your patients? What are your thoughts with this new gadget?

Read our previous blog post on The Affect of Dental Tourism.

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