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Dentistry has come a long way since the days when barbers pulled teeth with no anesthesia, so it's no surprise that people are keeping their natural pearly whites longer. Tooth loss among adults ages 65 to 74 has decreased by 75 percent over the past five decades, and technology is one of the biggest drivers behind this change. Here are three incredible dental technologies that are improving dental health.

Aligner Trays

Just 25 years ago, getting braces on your teeth meant a mouth full of metal, but all that changed with the invention of clear plastic aligner trays. Unlike braces, trays are removable and invisible. They are not only more comfortable but also move teeth faster and make oral hygiene practices like flossing and brushing easier.

While the first generation of trays could only move teeth cosmetically, today's clear aligners can perform intrusions, extrusions and correct bites thanks to the addition of attachments and appliances. Skilled orthodontists can even cut the trays and combine them with metal brackets.

Dental Implants

A set of cumbersome, ill-fitting dentures was once the only solution to tooth loss, but modern technology makes it possible to implant an artificial tooth directly into the jaw. Dental implants are more comfortable and less maintenance than dentures because you can treat them just like a natural tooth. They also help support the jawbone, which prevents loss of the surrounding bone and teeth.

Another option for patients who are missing one or both arches of teeth is an all-on-four denture, which uses two implanted posts on each arch to support a set of dentures. This type of implant is less expensive than replacing all the teeth individually while offering better support and stability than traditional dentures.

Digital Imaging

You may not notice the difference between traditional X-rays and digital X-rays when you're in the chair, but digital images give your dentist and hygienist a much clearer picture of your oral health. Digital radiographs appear on a computer screen instead of film, so your provider can zoom, increase contrast, isolate specific areas and more. They are also better for the environment because there are no films or foils to discard.

Although dentistry today is nothing like it was just a century ago, there are still many new and innovative dental technologies on the horizon. Laser dentistry, regenerating teeth and ultraviolet lights that can detect oral cancers are just a few of the technologies you may soon see in your dentist's office.

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