How Dentistry Has Changed In 30 years Dr. Peter Rumack, DDS on 17 Apr 2015
A frequent question I have received from my patients over the years is, “How has dentistry changed since you began to practice?” or “what are the most significant changes that have occurred in dentistry since you came out of dental school?”
It’s been over 30 years since I graduated from Columbia University Dental School. Additionally I was exposed to the profession by my father many years before that. I can therefore claim that I have watched the profession change for perhaps 40 years. Thus, I thought it would be interesting for you to share some of my observations and perspective on the changes that have occurred over these years.
So here it is in no particular order:
- Implant Dentistry
- Cosmetic Dentistry/ Bonded adhesion
When I graduated in 1978 these technologies basically did not exist.
- Implants were a dream by the dentists who were not afraid to “push the envelope.” The process was crude by today’s standard. Fifty percent of implants placed by those methods failed within 5 years. Infections and complications were common.
- Composite (white) filling material was crude and was not “bonded “to the tooth. Therefore they fell out, stained or leaked and had a high rate of failure. The common materials to fill teeth were silver amalgam or gold. All porcelain crowns were thick, opaque and unsightly.
- The first and simplest uses of computer were of course for word processing and as a data base. Computers have now moved into the actual process of diagnosis and treatment. Thus we now use computers for x-rays, CT scans, fabrication of restorations, tooth movement (Invisalign), implant guidance, and countless other applications.
I am proud that over the years I have dedicated myself to not only learning about these new treatment methods, but also implementing them in my practice. The pace of change has accelerated so much that if a dental professional is not curious, and interested in the changes in the dentistry, he or she will quickly be dated in their approach to treatment.
Computer guided implant placement. Implants were virtually placed from a CT scan, and then a jig was fabricated to guide the placements during surgery. This is a combination of implant and computer technology.
The front four teeth are bonded porcelain laminates. This is an example of the process of “bonding “materials to the tooth and the new extremely esthetic ceramics that have been developed in the last 15 or 20 years.
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