Have you ever thought about how dentistry will look in the future? Will the seemingly advanced technology that can be utilised in healthcare evolve to the point that it becomes common usage, or will it become obsolete? From assistance to your smartphone, to robots, to the human dentists of the future, what is the future of dentistry going to look like?
There's an App for That
There's an app to manage pretty much every aspect of life, and teeth cleaning apps are nothing new. It would be great if these apps were capable of actually cleaning your teeth for you, but no. Such apps might be beneficial for children, making brushing into a game (and importantly, a game that lasts long enough to ensure a thorough cleaning), but a reviewer likened the adult version of a teeth cleaning app to little more than an advertisement for the dental company that released the app.
Q: Are apps the future of dentistry?
A: Probably not.
The Rise of the Robots
There are some jobs where humans could be replaced by robots, but would this ever apply to dentistry? Surveys have indicated that people would be receptive to having a robot perform their dental work, but only to a point. Many respondents suggested that they would only feel comfortable when a robot performed basic, non-invasive dental procedures, with anything beyond that still requiring the human touch. And yet the technology already exists, with a Chinese robot autonomously installing two dental implants into its human patient (although it was under the constant supervision of human dentists). Perhaps one day some types of dental procedures will be performed by a robot with the human dentist ready to step in if needed -- but who will that dentist be?
Q: Are robots the future of dentistry?
A: They'll probably play a common role one day.
Females Are the Future
There are certain roles that are male-dominated (with the proportion of males in these jobs still growing). While there is a gender imbalance in some fields, this is not the case in dentistry, or at least in Australian dentistry. Just over half of all dental professionals in Australia are female, and the number of female dental students would indicate that female dentists are going to comprise the majority of dentists practising in Australia. Essentially, when you choose a new dentist there is more than a fifty percent chance that your dentist will be a woman.
Q: Are females the future of dentistry?
Teeth cleaning apps capable of doing more than they already can? Probably not, unless the technology evolves to the point of being able to diagnose problems. Robots doing some of your dental work? Probably, one day. About the only thing that's clear about the future of dentistry is that the human touch will still be required, and chances are that the human will be female.