Remember the cell phones that were available in the early 90’s? It was as big as a shoe box and barley let you make phone calls. It was nothing compared with the cell phones of today. We have all been inundated with technology the last few years. Dentistry is no different, thanks to technological advances we have been able to improve diagnosis, treatment, and most importantly, patient comfort and overall dental health.
With the integration of the computer into the treatment room, digital imaging has become popular and convenient. Dental x-rays all used to be on a cardboard applicator with the film attached and in your mouth. Once taken, it would take about twenty minutes to develop them before we could see them. Today with dental x-rays we can take the image of your teeth and have it on the computer screen within seconds. We are able to zoom in and out, adjust the contrast and even measure parts of the tooth all with the click of a mouse. One of the nice things about this is that the exposure time to radiation is a minute fraction of what used to be.
One of the other things that has helped make dentistry easier and more informative is the intraoral camera. This camera allows us to take digital images inside the mouth of either one tooth or a couple of teeth. It allows a patient to see close up what is happening with your teeth. You can see things such as plaque and tartar buildup, the grooves of teeth and even small minute openings along fillings.
Cavities and gum surgery used to be something that every one dreads. Now with the advent of fiber optics and erbium chromium lasers, many of these procedures can be done in half the time with little of no discomfort. The dental laser our office has, is an erbium chromium laser. This type of laser focused on water and those tissues with higher concentrations of water. Gum contouring procedures can be done with little or no bleeding, in many instances these procedures can be done without anesthetic. This type of laser can also be used with fillings, sterilizing root canals and many other dental procedures. One of the best ones of those other procedures is helping with apthous ulcers, it allows your moth to start healing much sooner.
Another laser that has become helpful in dentistry is called a diagnodent. This handy tool allows the dentist and dental team to help detect cavities when they are very small. This is a class 2 (less powerful) laser that reads the density of a tooth. Once it is calibrated to a patients teeth, it allows us to find the areas that have become cavities. It beeps to let you know when the density is changing, the higher the beep the less dense the tooth is and greater the size of the cavity.
Other non-dental technologies can also help make your dental visit more comfortable. We have the ability to play movies , or tv shows, or podcasts, or music at the dental chair through the overhead monitor and headphones. Wearing the headphones helps eliminate some of the other dental noises people don’t like to hear. We also have a hand spa that allows patients to have their hands waxed which helps relax you.
These are just some of the most recent and convenient innovations to dentistry. There is a lot more on the horizon. Just like other industries, technology is pushed by those at the forefront of the industry. The entire team here at Levine Dental Associates is committed to providing the best care to our patients with the latest technology available.