DENTAL NEWS: Emerging technologies can be used to redesign dentistry to scale globally

In the past dentistry used to comprise of mainly extracting diseased teeth, a painful experience everyone wanted to avoid. Modern dentistry has enabled people to keep their teeth for longer as there are now many procedures to repair damaged teeth, consisting mainly of fillings, crowns and implants. 

However this reparative tendency has increased a lot with a large percentage of daily dental treatments consisting of replacing older dentistry. This is known as the restorative staircase – where a filling then gets replaced with a bigger filling, which then turns into the tooth needing a root canal, then the tooth as weakened now needs a crown, then the root canal fails and it needs an extraction, then an implant to replace it, which then fails…

The problem here is that the only way a dental clinic makes money is by doing a new procedure. There is currently no effective business model for prevention (apart from the sales of toothpaste, mouthwash and oral health aids which can’t effectively support the overhead of a clinic). 

The majority of reduction of tooth decay has been due to the introduction of fluoridated toothpastes from consumer oral health companies, which means the population en masse can brush twice a day and strengthen their tooth enamel. There is a need for a redesign of the system.

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