Five Dental Trends for 2011

The face of dentistry changes each year, and 2011 will be no different. Here are the top five dental trends for 2011, brought to you by the Consumer Guide to Dentistry:

1. Smile makeovers meet BOTOX and injectables. Soon you may be visiting your dentist every few months for more than just routine cleanings and followups, especially if your dentist uses dermal fillers and BOTOX as part of overall smile makeover procedures. Because dentists are experts in smile and facial aesthetics, many are going the extra mile to offer facial injectable fillers in order to provide patients with the most comprehensive antiaging and rejuvenation experience possible.

2. Dentists help patients maximize the treatment experience. Better patient reminders, new mobile apps with helpful dental health information, and more conveniently scheduled and phased treatments to relieve financial burdens are among the patient-centered and technology-driven efforts to help you get the dentistry you need and want. Don’t be surprised if your dentist texts or emails you about your next appointment—or the need to schedule one before your annual dental benefits expire. The days and times available may be more convenient than before to accommodate your lifestyle, and treatments may be offered in multiple steps to help you undergo necessary procedures now, rather than after bothersome conditions become too severe.

3. Convenient, noninvasive sleep apnea interventions. Not getting a good night’s sleep because you or a loved one snores? You might resolve the problem a lot faster and in a medically sound way if you see your dentist. Increasingly, dentists are playing a role in screening, diagnosing and treating snoring and sleep-disordered breathing using various oral appliances that are clinically proven, effective alternatives to expensive and cumbersome CPAP machines. Some may even be prescribed and delivered the same day.

4. Precision and efficiency from digital dentistry. Whether routine or complex, dental treatments will be increasingly convenient and comfortable as more dentists incorporate digital devices and techniques in their procedures. Look for advances such as digital impressions that don’t require traditional “ooey-gooey” impression materials; in-office CAD/CAM equipment that lets dentists make metal-free crowns and other restorations during one same-day office visit; and digital radiography that produces less radiation exposure than traditional dental film x-rays.

5. Improved denture aesthetics, stability, and comfort. Cosmetic smile makeovers are now a reality for both the youthful and young at heart, even if you’re missing several or a mouthful of teeth. Thanks to more affordable and same-day implant procedures, as well as dentures made from materials that are as natural and beautiful looking as real teeth and gum tissue, dentists can offer a better variety of options to make eating, chewing, smiling and feeling comfortable with dentures easier than ever before—no matter what age a patient is.

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