Dental Technology: an Interview Guide
Dentistry is constantly evolving and there are new technologies being developed that are being implemented in dentistry. During your interview they may ask you something relating to your thoughts on dental technologies or if you have heard of any advances in dentistry. This guide will give you all you need to know to answer a dental technology question during an interview.
What are different types of dental technology?
It is hoped that intra-oral scanning will take over from conventional impression techniques currently used in dentistry. Impressions are used to create a cast of a patient’s teeth that can then be used to create crowns, check how a patient bits together or construct dentures. New technology has allowed intra-oral scanners to be produced which scan the teeth and construct a 3D computer image. This is much more pleasant for the patient and is useful for individuals with a strong gag-reflex. Some research also indicates that intra-oral scanning can also be more accurate than using impression materials.
Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser dentistry has a range of applications such as removing dental decay or cauterising wounds. Laser dentistry often means shorter recovery times for patients. They can also be used on patients who dislike dental drills due to the noise. Laser dentistry means that in some procedures such as removing dental decay, local anaesthetic is not needed.
Natural Tooth Repair
Research is being conducted into different materials that can stimulate the tooth to repair itself, removing the need for fillings. King’s College London published research that found an Alzheimer’s drug could be used to stimulate stem cells in the pulp of a tooth so that protective dentine is laid down. Dentine is a natural mineralised material that protects the tooth and reduces the need for fillings. The drug, Tideglusib is currently used to help those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, but it could be used in the future to aid natural tooth repair.
Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture
Within the speciality of prosthodontics computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacture (CAM) is being implemented in dentistry. CAD/CAM allows dental technicians to design restorations such as crowns, bridges or dental implants using technology. The designed restoration can then be made through 3D printing or then on-site milling. This allows production to be quicker and completed in a dental clinic if suitable technology is available. However, currently it is not readily available due to cost and the training required to use the technology.
What kind of questions could I be asked about dental technology in an interview?
- Please tell me about a recent advance in dentistry that has impacted on practice
- Do you think the NHS should invest in new dental technologies?
- Should dental technologies be restricted to patients treated in private practice?
How should I approach a dental technology question?
- Show that you have an understanding of dental technology and their current limitations
- Relate to the interviewer how the dental technology may benefit a range of parties such as the dentist, patient or NHS
- Be realistic when assessing dental technology and have an understanding as to how many of these technologies are currently used in practice