The Future of Dentistry

Dr. Timothy Rose is the current president of the American Dental Association, so he has plenty of ideas about what the future holds. A gum specialist in Appleton, Wisconsin, Rose has also served on that state’s task force on the future of dentistry.
     The following is a transcript of Dr. Rose’s chat on ABCNEWS.com.

Matt from [209.109.238.48], at 3:00pm ET

I've heard there are "drills" in development at the present time that use a very accurate spray of silica "sand" to actually cut and prepare teeth for filling application. Reportedly, these 'sand-blasters' carry none of the vibration and other creepy effects of an actual drillbit. Care to comment on whether or not these 'drills' are in service here in the U.S. and what the ADA reports regarding their effectiveness?

Dr. Timothy Rose

at 3:01pm ET

Well, they're not really drills. It really is a high-pressure silicate, and they are in use in the U.S., they gone through both ADA and FDA approval. It's a new technology, and they'll be used more frequently in the future.

Brad Parker from duke-energy.com at 3:02pm ET

Will we ever be able to stimulate the jaw's bone structure to spur new tooth growth; in effect, planting a seed for a new tooth to grow?

Dr. Timothy Rose

at 3:02pm ET

I would say yes, eventually. There is a significant amount of work being done in dentisty, and that work will bring to fruition that kind of thing, but it won't happen immediately.

M. Cullum from [204.146.215.242] at 3:03pm ET

Are digital x-rays as good as regular x-rays?

Dr. Timothy Rose

at 3:05pm ET

A digital x-ray is an x-ray taken with a standard x-ray machine, and exposes a sensor and transmits the image to a computer. In many way, they are more sensitive than standard x-rays. From the exposure perspective, it only takes about 10 percent as much radiation to expose a digital x-ray as it does to expose a traditional x-ray on film. In many ways they are better. You can do things with the digital image that you cannot do with an image that appears on film. You can turn it, enhance it, change colors...all of those things are helpful.

Arthur from [149.123.203.139] at 3:05pm ET

Will there be a breakthrough ingredient in toothpaste or mouthwash that will practically repair cavities?

Dr. Timothy Rose

at 3:06pm ET

Maybe someday, but not now. That technology clearly is not here. There is some work being done in the area of using chemicals in mouthwash and toothpastes to regenerate hard tissue, but that research is at its very beginning.

clcoon from dayton5.oh.pub-ip.psi.net at 3:06pm ET

Since flouride has been shown to be health hazard/toxin to people and now requires warning labels on packages, will the ADA re-evaluate its position of recommending it for toothpaste?

Dr. Timothy Rose

at 3:07pm ET

No. The amount of flouride that appears in a toothpaste is well within the safe limits that a human can use. The one concern would be if a child, in an unsupervised way, used an excessive amount of toothpaste and swallowed it. That's way parental supervision is so important.

Richard Bornemann from s29.as1.bsd.erols.com at 3:08pm ET

As an aging baby boomer, what can be done to promote the health of gum tissue other then flossing, brushing, good diet, and regular cleanings and check-ups? I have heard that some vitamins and herbs can be especially effective in promoting the health of these tissues, can you suggest any?

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