Significant technological advances in the field of dentistry have taken quite a bite out of patient time spent waiting in the chair for a diagnosis, all the while allowing dentists to zoom right in to the root of the problem in a more efficient manner.
Dr. Reid Stone, DDS at Northern Hills Dental, recently shared his opinion on the top five technologies and their benefits over former methods.
“Digital X-Rays, digital cameras, ‘laser pens,’ 3-D imaging, and digital impressions,” Stone said. “Digital x-rays provide up to a 90 percent reduction in radiation exposure over traditional film-based x-rays of the past and dentists can see the image faster . A digital camera or, what is known as an ‘intraoral camera,” is like a wand that allows the dentist to take a photo of a few teeth, a patient's smile or of the condition of teeth and allows the dentist and patient to view images together in consult. A diagnodent: Is a ‘laser pen’ that shoots a light beam into a tooth to detect decay and replaces that sharp hooked instrument that dentists used to press into teeth to find a cavity, allowing the dentist to catch decay in its earliest stages and increasing accuracy of diagnosis. Traditional x-rays are in 2D, and this puts the x-ray into a 3D image, which is very helpful in aspects of dentistry when diagnosing abnormalities in the mouth such as cancer and its early detection, as well as increasing surgical accuracy. Finally, digital impressions deliver a very accurate model of one's teeth that can then be sent to a dental laboratory via email rather than in the mail.”
Translation? All are time-saving, accuracy-increasing measures, which are better for the dentist and the patient, alike. And these days, some, if not all of the above, should be in use at your dentist office of choice.
“Look for a dentist that is progressive in incorporating these technologies into their practice,” Stone said. “A lot of dentists get in a rut of just doing what they learned in school and don't continue advance their education. Technology costs a lot of money and time for a dentist to incorporate it into their practice. This often means time away from the office and travels for training. But, the end result is you are getting treatment that is more conservative and often at a lower cost than traditional methods of the past.”
Sometimes technology of this type goes beyond quick and efficient, to life-saving.
“I have had a couple of patients that have gone in for a dental implant to be placed and the surgeon took a 3D image of their jaws and found life-threatening conditions that had they not found it with this x-ray, they might not be here today,” Stone said.
But, first and foremost, Stone said technology just plain makes his job easier and dentist visits more pleasant for patients.
With questions, please contact Dr. Reid Stone, DDS at Northern Hills Dental, 584-2983.