Technology

 

To effectively serve its patients, a dental practice must take steps to stay updated with the latest technology in the field. In order to give our patients the most effective treatments available as efficiently as possible, our office uses technology in the treatment process in a variety of ways, from planning the treatment to providing it. We stay informed of technological advances in dental medicine by working closely with our vendors to bring in new equipment when appropriate, as well as by pursuing continuing education opportunities that update our skills and knowledge of such technology.

Digital Imaging

 

Annual bitewing x-rays are an important component of your dental care, and they give us an opportunity to examine changes in your teeth that may not be identified in hidden areas of the oral cavity, such as the points at which the teeth meet. These x-rays also show your jaw structure so that any problems in that area can be identified and treated. In the past, these x-rays were taken on film, which took some period of time to develop and exposed the practice staff to potentially harmful chemicals. Additionally, these x-rays could not be easily manipulated to view the images from another angle.

 

Our office uses digital x-rays that are captured instantly via computer software – no chemicals needed -and can be rotated on the screen to look at different areas or zoomed in to get a closer look at a particular structure. Patients are also exposed to slightly lower amounts of radiation in digital x-rays, although we still take all appropriate precautions so that all sensitive body parts are covered while the x-ray is taken. The digital files can also be easily provided to specialists if an outside referral is needed.

Another type of x-ray, known as a panoramic x-ray, is taken every five years. Unlike the bitewing x-rays, which present a piecemeal representation of the jaw, the panoramic x-ray captures the entire oral structure, including teeth, jaws, and sinuses, as well as the lower nasal area, in a single image. This type of x-ray can be useful in diagnosing problems such as bone malformations, tumors, cysts, impacted teeth and some infections. If you are experiencing certain symptoms, your dentist may recommend a panoramic x-ray instead of bitewing x-rays.

Digital Impressions

 

Just a short time ago, some treatment processes, such as orthodontic treatment or getting fitted for a dental bridge, began with the messy, unpleasant experience of taking dental impressions by having the patient bite down into a tray filled with a putty-like substance and hold it for a period of time, which seemed interminable if you were the patient! In the years since, dental technology has improved this process and made it more comfortable for patients, as well.

 

We are now able to take dental impressions digitally using the TRIOS system. The dentist uses an intraoral scanner in the oral cavity to capture the specifications of the teeth structures. That data is then relayed to a CAD/CAM software system that creates a three-dimensional image of the teeth. That image can be moved around on the screen to view the impression from different angles for treatment planning purposes, as well. Digital impressions often lead to more predictable treatment results in addition to being more comfortable for patients.

Treatment Technology

 

One of the most important treatments that patients receive at a dentist’s office is prophylaxis, the preventive teeth cleaning provided by a dental hygienist. If a patient has minimal calculus (tartar), it may be possible to clean the teeth in a short period of time using traditional scaling instruments. However, other patients may benefit from an ultrasonic scaling system, such as Cavitron. This system cleans the teeth far more quickly, especially when a patient has significant tartar accumulation. Cavitron also has less of an impact on the patient’s teeth, and less pressure is applied to the teeth and jaws when this instrument is used. Patients have a more comfortable experience, and they are able to get in and out of our office in a quicker appointment.

 

Lasers are another way in which technology can enhance dental treatment. Lasers are used to activate bleaching gels in teeth whitening treatments so that they can achieve the desired effects much more quickly than the gel alone can. With laser-accelerated teeth whitening, the treatment can be completed in as little as an hour. You can get a whiter, brighter smile on your lunch break!

 

These are only a few of the ways in which technology is integrated into our practice. To learn more about the technology we use and how it might benefit your treatment, call our office and speak to one of our friendly staff members.