One of the most exciting developments in the realm of dentistry has been the advancements in dental technology. As computerization has advanced, dental technology has as well. For the patient, its cutting-edge capabilities provide faster, more precise results with exceptional durability and enhanced comfort levels.
Let’s start with the imaging. The old ‘x-rays’ once used in a dental office have been replaced by modern offices for digital imaging. These images provide a clearer view of problem spots and areas of vulnerability. The images can be easily enlarged for patient viewing, enabling them to have greater involvement in treatment decisions.
An added bonus of digital imaging versus x-rays is patient safety. Imaging emits about 90% less radiation than traditional x-rays of prior film methods. The images also appear faster and can be projected onto large monitors to show minute details. Plus, they’re greener for the environment — no more film or development chemicals!
Another asset in modern dental offices is CEREC 3D. This computerized technology does a number of functions that save treatment time, optimize results and enhance patient comfort. One of its most popular functions is the creation of single-visit crowns.
For many years, providing a patient with a crown (‘cap’) required two visits. In the first, the patient’s tooth was prepared and a mold taken. This mold was sent to a dental lab, who would spend 2 weeks to a month creating the porcelain replacement ‘restoration.’
In the meantime, the patient wore a ‘temporary’ over the prepared tooth. These were designed to be removed easily so the lab-created crown could be placed once completed. However, temporaries tend to detach rather easily, often at the worst of times! Typically while chewing, the temporary’s adhesive would give way and end up requiring an appointment to resecure it.
When the final crown was ready, the patient had to return to the office for another appointment. The area for the new crown was again numbed and the crown would be attached. However, if the lab failed to properly match the shade or the fit was not done according to the doctor’s specifications, the process had to begin all over. Another appointment, another numbing, etc.
CEREC 3D technology solves all the back-&-forth. It takes an image of the prepared tooth, then imports it into a computer that logs in the Doctor’s specifications. It then begins creating the final restoration while the patient relaxes.
In a brief time, the final crown is ready for placement, with no additional numbing or a second appointment needed! CEREC can also create inlays or onlays, bridges and dental implant attachment-teeth.
One of the most fascinating new additions to our office technology is our Cone-Beam imaging. This takes a ‘head view’ image that shows the entire mouth and surrounding sinus, jaw and head joint structures in intricate detail. These ‘space age’ images can be viewed from all sides using a single image. For example, the Doctor can turn the image to see a tooth from both sides, the front or the back.
These views are a tremendous asset when it comes to diagnosis and planning appropriate treatment. This means that the potential for over-treating or under-treating is virtually eliminated.
Other advanced features (in our office) include a dental laser, which gives a number of advantages for patients. Primarily used in oral tissue treatment, a laser causes no bleeding and reduces numbing requirements in gum contouring, bacteria removal, uncovering implants, repair of oral ulcers and other tissue related procedures.
We also use the VELscope System, which is a hand-held device that aids in early detection of oral cancer. The exam is non-invasive, painless and takes only minutes. The process gives Dr. Andrews a better visual of abnormal tissue that may be, or may lead to, oral cancer.
Computerized charting is another advanced feature. This measures and stores your oral status while predicting vulnerable areas as it compares data at each visit.
While not all dental offices feature this array of dental technology, we’ve found our patients prefer the higher level of comfort, time savings and optimized outcomes it all provides.
To see just some of the unique features in our office, visit: https://www.smilesbyandrews.com/comfort-advanced-features/