New technology helping to make dental visits a painless process

New technology is making a trip to  the dentist's office a much more enjoyable experience.For years, the mere thought of going to the dentist has been a painful one, and nobody knows that better than the certified dental assistants who have to deal with those patients that come squirming into the dentist office. But now, with the help of new technology, much of the pain and anguish dental patients suffer through is being alleviated.

Dental entrepreneur eases patients’ pain

Acknowledging that many of his patients dread the pinch of the needle that is used to administer anesthesia before a dental operation, Dr. Steven Goldberg came up with a gadget that he hopes will mitigate what has become known through various research papers as “dental phobia.”

Now used in thousands of dentist offices worldwide, Goldberg’s invention, called DentalVibe, uses vibrations to distract patients from the imminent pain of the needle, according to The Upstart Business Journal.1

Goldberg first developed the idea after hearing of the “Gate Control Theory of Pain,” which states that vibrations travel to the brain faster than the feeling of pain. Working off that theory, he used to shake his patients lips a little during the injection, until he realized a mechanical device might do the job more effectively.

That’s when Goldberg invented DentalVibe. The cordless, rechargeable, handheld device delivers pulsed, percussive micro-oscillations to vibrate the injection site, which distracts the patient from the feeling of pain.

“My biggest joy is we have thousands of testimonials from patients, and people high-fiving their dentists afterwards, asking ‘Why didn’t they have this when I was a kid?'” Goldberg told the source.

Nanotechnology coming to dentistry

Nanotechnology, which is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale, is now being used to make a better dental implant, and it could become a major part of dental assistant training in the future.

As reported on Phys.org,2 by using titanium dioxide nanotubes for implants, researchers at Michigan Technological University are hoping to improve healing, battle and reduce instances of infection and help dental implants last a lifetime.

The idea arose out of work on other types of implants, including artificial hips, but the researchers soon realized that their findings could apply to dental implants as well. So they turned their science fiction-sounding technology toward that purpose, knowing they could make the often difficult and painful process of dental implantation into one that patients see as a relatively simple and painless procedure.

1 Novellino, Teresa, “Dental Entrepreneur’s Good Vibe Zaps Needle Pain,” The Upstart Business Journal, Sept. 20, 2013. http://upstart.bizjournals.com/entrepreneurs/hot-shots/2013/09/20/dental-entrepreneur-zaps-needle-pain.html?page=all
2 Michigan Technological University, “New Nanotube Surface Promises Dental Implants That Heal Faster and Fight Infection,” Phys.org, Sept. 23, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-09-nanotube-surface-dental-implants-faster.html