Dentistry is in an exciting new era, advanced by new technologies that are making dentistry better, faster, and more affordable.
Some of these changes have become obvious to the patient, such as text and email reminders of appointments, online scheduling for dental hygiene appointments and electronic filing for dental insurance claims.
But behind the scenes on the clinical end are major advances and changes in the way dental care is provided.
So if you haven’t visited your dentist in a while, you may discover that so much has changed in the past 5 years. Here are some of the newer dental care technologies that top dentists are bringing into their practices.
- Digital X-Rays, including 3-D Cone Bean CT
- Faster Dental Care using CAD/CAM Restorations including CEREC
- Full Mouth Restorations/Makeovers in a Fewer Visits
- Better Dental Implants with Computer-Guided Implant Placement
- Dental Lasers for Earlier Tooth Cavity Detection
- Digital Impressions
- Thinner Veneers that Preserve More Tooth
- New Gum Disease Treatments for Better Dental Health
- Better Bonding and Filling Materials
In the next few issues of the Montgomery News, we will be expanding in more detail about one or more of these clinical advances.
In this article, we will examine the use of digital x-rays and how it improves dental health. In over 60% of dental offices in the U.S., digital x-rays (think computerized x-rays) have replaced traditional radiographs that use film and chemicals to provide an image your tooth or teeth.
Digital x-rays are faster and safer than traditional x-rays. First, an electronic sensor or phosphoric plate (instead of film) is placed in the patient’s mouth to capture the image of the teeth. The digital image is then displayed on a computer monitor where the dentist can view it within seconds. Computer software can improve the quality of the image so that the dentist doesn’t need to take additional x-rays.
These digital images are stored on the dentist’s computer server and can be compared with previous or future images to evaluate how your dental health is being maintained. And because the sensor and phosphoric plates are more sensitive to x-rays than film is, the radiation dosage is significantly reduced – in some cases up to 80%.
Digitals x-rays are not only used to find cavities between teeth, they are also used to help look at the bone level that is hidden under the gumline and between the roots of the teeth. Dentists who perform root canals, including endodontists who specialize in treating infections of the teeth, use digital x-rays to guide them into performing the procedure correctly.
Moreover, dentists use these digital x-rays to check the placement of an implant – a titanium cylinder that is inserted into the jawbone so that an artificial tooth or teeth can be attached.
Recently, a select few number of dental practices have installed Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) machines in their offices. CBCT is a dental imaging technique used to produce 3-D images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bone in a single scan. The Cone Beam scan is more expensive than a screening panoramic view (CBCT cost approximately $350-$400, versus panoramic $120-$150), but the CBCT provides a larger amount of clinical data upon which (the dentist?) makes the best clinical decision. Getting a CBCT 3-D scan is a key element before proceeding with dental implants.
Well that’s about all we have you this edition. Next month we will explore in some detail the use of dental CAD/CAM used how it is making dentistry faster, better, and more affordable for patients.
Albert Internoscia, DMD, MAGD, FICOI
Dr. Albert Internoscia is the owner of Towne Centre Family Dental and the Implant and SmileMakeover Studios. He has been practicing dentistry for over 30 years in the Hillsborough and Montgomery Area.
Any questions for Dr. Al? Email [email protected]. For an appointment, book online at familydental.com or call TCFD at 908-874-4555.