Gaps In Our Current Knowledge
More robust long-term studies are required to fully identify clinical scenarios and patient characteristics wherein the use of enhanced visualization may result in improved clinical and aesthetic outcomes and/or decrease post-operative discomfort. Additionally, a cost-utility analysis for these technologies based upon the types of procedures performed and the needs of both patient and practitioner may yield information that dental healthcare providers can use when choosing the technology that may be applicable in individual clinical environments. Comprehensive assessment of the start-up and maintenance costs of enhanced visualization technologies and their impact on clinical outcomes may allow practitioners to weigh their investment and potential enhanced fees for their patients with clinical benefits. Further, assessment of patient preferences and post-operative healing and discomfort may also impact the decisions of practitioners to incorporate such technologies into their practices.
Finally, for dental healthcare practitioners, the use of enhanced visualization techniques may result in improved ergonomics and decreased practitioner injury throughout their careers. This, in turn, may yield better dexterity and longevity and decrease operator fatigue throughout the clinical day, positively impacting patient care access and clinical outcomes. These direct advantages to practitioners (and potential indirect advantages to patients) could be another rationale for the adoption of such technologies. If employment of enhanced visualization techniques allows for an individual to practice for longer hours without fatigue or discomfort and extends one’s practice lifetime, the investment in such technologies may be beneficial for the enjoyment and longevity of the dental practitioner.