How Technology in the Dental Office Impacts the Patient Experience AND Your Work as a Dental Assistant or Hygienist

HealthcareJuly 01, 2021

While patients want healthy teeth and gums, they don’t always love going to the dental office. Many patients report feeling anxious even thinking about a dental visit.  Fortunately, modern dentistry is to change that by using technology to improve the patient experience. From designing offices with soothing colors and music, to finding cavities sooner to setting a more laidback tone in the chair, these cool solutions can help make the job of a dental hygienist easier, too.  

Here are a few tools that can help patients relax when it’s time to open wide. 

Digital X-Rays 

X-rays provide essential information to the hygienist and dentist, but traditional film-based methods have flaws. Not only do they take time to develop, but they can also crop out areas and need to be redone. Plus, the film used creates environmental waste.  

Digital x-ray technology can change all of that. While the process is similar, hygienists insert a sensor into the patient’s mouth that captures images and immediately sends them to a screen for viewing. They use 90% less radiation, require no prep time, are environmentally friendly, and produce instant high-quality images so patients can get in and out of their appointment faster. The dentist can immediately see any problem areas and even show them to the patient on the screen. 

Laser Cavity Detection  

Finding and filling cavities isn’t fun for the patient, but when tooth decay can be found in the early stages, hygienists and dentists can take steps to help prevent cavities or reduce the level of treatment needed. Traditional diagnostic tools include a visual exam with the dental explorer and x-rays, but these can be ineffective.  

New laser detection devices can measure the mineral structure of the tooth and identify the presence of occlusal decay during an exam. This allows the dentist to treat the tooth in a non-invasive manner, helping eliminate the dreaded drill!   

TVs and Headphones  

Finally, hygienists and assistants can help patients get their mind off the procedures and onto something more enjoyable, such as a favorite television show or movie during their cleanings and procedures. While many offices have TVs affixed to the wall, new screens mount to a hygienist’s light. Headphones help drown out the noises coming from the equipment and allow the patient to fully relax.  

Outside of the Dental Office 

As new technology is introduced, dental hygienists who become proficient at handling innovative tools can pursue new career opportunities. In addition to using these skills to treat patients, dental hygienists may find work outside the dental clinic, working for the technology companies that provide the equipment and train staff on its use.  

If you’re interested in learning more about getting into the field as a Dental Assistant or a Dental Hygienist, Fortis can help. To schedule a tour at one of our campuses, visit the Dental page on the Fortis website, or call (855) 436-7847  for more information.