Cosmetic Dentistry Trends
Career Path : Dental Care
Smiles are contagious. They speak the language of love, the secret of youth, and are a rebellion against gravity. They tend to depend on the quality of teeth, which is where the dentist comes in. Among many changing trends in the field of dentistry, one that signals opportunity is increased patient demand for better smiles. This falls into the category of cosmetic dentistry, though the term serves as more of a marketing tool since the American Dental Association does not recognize it as a formal specialty area of dentistry.
Popular Cosmetic Alternatives
Patients are demanding a fantastic set of pearly whites and advances in orthodontics are enabling this. The trend is for straightening treatment followed by whitening, transforming yellow crooked smiles to perfectly straight and gleaming white. Cosmetic braces have made huge advances since the days of unsightly headsets, and can now be transparent or lingual brackets, which are set behind the teeth so they donât show at all. Retainers worn after treatment enable the teeth to remain straight.
Tooth whitening, or dental bleaching, are two aesthetic alternatives. Whitening restores natural tooth colour while bleaching whitens beyond the natural colour. Bleaching has come a long way since the ancient Romans used urine and goat milk to whiten their teeth. Modern whitening accelerates the bleaching process with fewer treatments.
Dental implants are increasingly being used to fill gaps as an alternative to bridges, partials or complete dentures. They are artificial roots made of titanium metal, which act as an anchor to hold a replacement tooth in place. Since implants are placed in the jawbone they are comfortable and look much like natural teeth.
Composite bonding is another procedure that can help repair chipped, broken, discoloured or decayed teeth and involves permanently attaching dental materials like enamel and dentin to the teeth, sculpting them into shape and polishing. Veneers can also be used to close gaps or disguise discoloured teeth. They are ultra-thin custom-made porcelain laminates that are bonded directly to the teeth. Porcelain is also being used for inlays and onlays, or indirect fillings, as a preferred alternative to metal fillings that strengthen teeth while giving a better fit than full-coverage dentures.
General Dental Trends
Economic factors are decreasing the number of people with dental insurance and yet research shows more children are making regular dental trips. There will be continuous challenges in fluctuating patient demand but many see strong business protocols as the best defense to sustaining a strong practice. Many dentists find economies of scale by grouping their practice with other medical and dental professionals, often sharing the services of staff with dental assistant training. Adding new services or finding a specialized niche may improve business, as may supplementing excellent patient care with a greater focus on marketing, accounting or payroll training.
Visit the National Academy of Health and Business for more information about medical office assistant courses.