From producing consumer goods to fabricating healthcare products quickly and efficiently, three-dimensional printing has revolutionized the construction of a number of products spanning diverse industries. When it comes to dentistry, three-dimensional printing is helpful for producing custom restorations like dental crowns and oral appliances used to prevent sport-related injuries or to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Three-dimensional printing technology along with advanced computer software can be used to fabricate beautiful restorations quickly. CEREC, a system that utilizes CAD/CAM technology, is used to construct custom dental crowns in one convenient office appointment.
Before CEREC and three-dimensional printing technology, dental crowns took weeks to fabricate. This is because dental crowns had to be constructed off-site in dental laboratories by technicians. The process for receiving a traditional crown involved wearing a temporary crown for weeks until one’s custom crown was ready. With CEREC, the process to create crowns is shortened to a few hours. This advanced technology eliminates the need for temporary crowns and weeks of waiting time.
Crowns made with CEREC technology are natural looking because these restorations are milled from high-quality blocks of ceramic. Available in numerous tooth-colored shades, CEREC produces beautiful dental work that blends in seamlessly with a patient’s biological teeth.
Traditionally, dental radiology relied heavily on two-dimensional images produced on X-ray film. Today, however, there are a number of technological advancements that dentists can use to produce very detailed images of the entire oral cavity and face. Cone beam imaging is an advanced diagnostic technology that generates incredibly detailed, three-dimensional views of the head and oral cavity.
Tissues and structures visible in cone beam images include:
CT cone beam imaging has diverse applications when it comes to dental treatments. Following are instances where cone beam images are helpful:
Cone beam images are especially helpful in implant dentistry. Placing dental implants requires an intimate understanding of the width and density of the jawbones. Without adequate bone structure, implants can fail. By using cone beam images, our dentist can determine the best site within the jaws to place dental implants. These images can be uploaded to software programs that help oral healthcare professionals simulate surgical treatment prior to a patient’s procedure.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious health condition that increases a person’s risk for a number of conditions and diseases. The standard treatment for sleep apnea included surgery and the use of CPAP machines, which emit a stream of air to keep breathing passageways open. While these solutions are often effective treatment options, many patients are turning to oral appliance therapy, which is a non-invasive and convenient alternative.
OSA appliance therapy involves wearing soft, custom-made oral appliances that help widen the diameter of the airway. These appliances fit over teeth like a retainer and position the lower mandible (jaw) forward. Repositioning the jaw increases airflow to prevent episodes of apnea during rest.
Benefits of appliance therapy for sleep apnea:
Untreated sleep apnea can affect your entire well-being. This condition causes sleep deprivation, which is proven to affect a person’s cognitive and motor function as well as increase his or her risks for systemic health concerns like pulmonary and cardiovascular disease.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
If you have signs of sleep apnea, it’s important to consult with a dentist or physician. If you have common symptoms of sleep apnea, a dentist will recommend that you have a sleep study performed. If this study indicates sleep apnea, you can pursue treatment options that might include oral appliance therapy.
Embracing the latest technology and deploying advanced treatment methods helps our team at St. George Family Dental provide accurate and customizable treatment for a number of conditions. From high-quality diagnostic images for treatment planning to expedite the fabrication of custom restorations, technology can improve our quality of treatment and our patients’ oral health.
Our practice provides general, restorative, and cosmetic dental treatment to people of all ages. We are accepting new patients. Call our office to schedule a checkup or consultation.