As we begin a new year, one cannot help but think about the future. What lies ahead? How will things change? How will our lives improve? When it comes to oral health care, there are a lot of interesting developments in the works and on the horizon. To gain a better understanding of what the future may hold for dentistry, we spoke with Dr. Brunacini.
1.When you think of the future of dentistry, what is most inspiring to you?
Dr. Brunacin: The digital workflow in dentistry will be a significant gamechanger. By using a digital scanner (pictured, right) instead of traditional impressions, we can achieve better fitting crowns and dentures in a much more efficient and comfortable manner. Digital scanners are a wand-like device that allow us to capture a 3D image of a patient’s mouth.
We can now begin planning oral rehabilitations digitally before performing any surgeries as well. This helps us better anticipate any challenges that may arise and creates improved predictability, which also helps us achieve one of our top priorities: a much better patient experience!
Also, replacing teeth with dental implants will continue to increase in prevalence because they combine both great esthetics and function for the patient. There are so many advances to look forward to in dentistry!
2. Have there been any takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic that you think will impact the future of oral health care?
Dr. Brunacini: During the pandemic, I’ve been struck by the power that stress has on our bodies. The increase in stress and anxiety that we all feel has correlated to a significant increase in TMJ symptoms and broken teeth. Of course, we need to treat teeth with cavities due to decay, but broken teeth due to bruxism (grinding/clenching) is new to a lot of people and really can do significant damage to the teeth and gums over time. As we’ve discussed before, it will continue to be important for patients to consider their whole body health as part of their oral health. It’s all connected…when you’re stressed, it shows in your mouth.
3. Integrative Dentistry is an important part of the oral health care philosophy at FDA. How do you see that evolving in the years to come?
Dr. Brunacini: Integrative Dentistry is a care philosophy that views the oral cavity – mouth, teeth, and gums – as another system in the human body that requires a whole body approach when thinking about care. I’m looking forward to the continued increase in collaboration between medicine and dental care. For so many years, dental care has always been separate from the medical model. Over time, I expect more connections between oral health and overall health to increase, which will create more motivation for both the patient and provider to improve oral health.
4. Technology is advancing all the time. What are some of the exciting technological advances taking place in oral health care?
Dr. Brunacini: As I’ve mentioned before, the digital workflow using digital scanners and 3-D printers will continue to improve in quality; therefore, it will soon become the preferred way to fabricate crowns and dentures. This will create a more efficient and more effective treatment for the patient, which is really sensational!
5. What’s one thing patients can do to improve the future of their oral health?
Dr. Brunacini: Proper homecare and diet continue to be the best way to improve oral health. I tell patients repeatedly that the best dentistry is no dentistry. If a patient can maintain proper oral hygiene plus a healthy diet to minimize decay risk, then a majority of dental problems can be prevented. So keep brushing, flossing, and eating healthy!
Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!
Your teeth have a lot to look forward to in the future! As Dr. Brunacini recommends, keep those teeth healthy and happy by following a proper home care regimen: brush twice-a-day, floss daily, and come in for your regular check ups! And don’t forget to eat well and find ways to reduce stress in your life, too. If you have any questions about your oral health care, or need to schedule an appointment, call us today at 207.781.5900.
*Scanner image courtesy of www.itero.com