Innovations in dental hygiene

Part I

The latest innovative technologies in diagnostic and therapeutic tools can surely revolutionalize the field of dental hygiene.

Dentistry has been characterized by technological progress for many years. At first, the high-speed handpiece was introduced in the 1950s. Then there was fiber optics, after that– magnification by way of loupes, and now dentists use microscopes to observe the tooth during treatment. Technology allows dentists to produce ceramic restorations in the operatory during treatment. Lasers are applied to a variety of procedures. Computer technology and software, intraoral cameras. Dentistry has really experienced tech boom in the past 50 years.

But it doesn’t concern dental hygiene. Of course, there were some new things, but there was nothing to change radically dental hygiene practice.

Let’s consider the two technological innovations:  diagnostics and therapy.

Diagnostic technology

Automated probes have been existed for several years, but have never been used in ordinary dental hygiene practice. Until now, they’ve been cumbersome, time consuming and painful. They have been no different from manual probing in terms of reliability. Besides these disadvantages there was one more minus – high price. Investigators are still using them, but they have yet to be applied in private practice.

The Diamond Probe, by Diamond General Development Corp., includes both manual probing and new technology. It’s plastic with black strips for visual scoring, and it also measures compounds of volatile sulfur in the sulcus. From the point of view of a patient, I think it’s better than well-established metal probes. From the point of view of a clinician, the Diamond Probe gives more information than just measuring sulcus depths; it can reveal the existence of volatile sulfur compounds warning me about areas of disease activity. Of course, looking at bleeding and probing depths may tell tell us where the disease is, but the Diamond Probe will also tell us where signs of activity are more evident before gingival attachment is lost and perhaps even before there is bleeding. Besides measuring volatile sulfur compounds in the sulcus, it can show sulfides on the tongue too.


You can read a continuing article in the next part of “Innovations in dental hygiene”…