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Dentistry past and future

January 21, 2019

By Kelly Ganski

ADA Foundation logo

Looking back: Past innovations in dentistry

Mr. George Dickson, Dr. Wilmer Souder, Dr. lrl C. Schoonover, Mr. John R. Beall, Dr. George C. Paffenbarger and Mr. Harold J. Caul Research sector: The entire Dental Research Section as the post-World War II era began. From left are Mr. George Dickson, Dr. Wilmer Souder, Dr. lrl C. Schoonover, Mr. John R. Beall, Dr. George C. Paffenbarger and Mr. Harold J. Caul. The latter three men were ADA research associates.

Dr. Walter E. Brown and Mr.  Harold J. Caul

Innovation: Dr. Walter E. Brown (left) and Mr. Harold J. Caul examine crystals with the aid of an X-ray machine. Dr. Brown, a section member since 1962, was the senior ADA research associate.
  • High-speed handpiece.
  • A dental drill with higher cutting speeds.
  • Panoramic X-ray.
  • A two-dimensional dental X-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image.
  • Dental composites.
  • Revolutionary tooth-colored dental restorative, invented by Dr. Rafael Bowen in the 1960s.
  • Bone cement.
  • Self-setting material utilized to repair bone defects.
  • Remineralizing products.
  • Dental restoratives based on sustainable release of remineralizing calcium and phosphate ions capable of repairing decayed tooth structures.

On the horizon: The future of dentistry

Dr. Jeffrey Kim and Dr. Shinae Kim Focused testing: (above, left to right) Dr. Jeffrey Kim studies e-cigarette vapor with the VRC’s standardized vaping equipment. Dr. Shinae Kim fabricates an oral biosensor in the nanofabrication facility.
  • New dental materials.
    Nano biosensor Nano biosensor Hazard mask Hazard mask Electronic cigarette Electronic cigarette
  • New generation composite restorations that are stronger and longer-lasting, self-healing, easy to use clinically and have antimicrobial properties.
  • Sensors.
  • Sensors capable of identifying disease processes both inside the mouth and body.
  • Pulp on a chip.
  • A replica of living pulp tissue outside the tooth for the purpose of testing new and exciting treatments for pulpal disease.
  • New bone grafts.
  • Bone graft materials with added molecules to make them work better in the mouth.
  • Nanotechnology and occupational hazard in dental offices.
  • Exploring the level of current protection from the nanoparticle-containing aerosol created when removing composites using a high-speed handpiece.
  • Effects of electronic-cigarette on oral health.
  • Exploring the potential oral health problems caused by vaping so dentists can provide important information to their patients concerning the potential risks.