Digital X-raysTechnology helps various fields of medicine grow by leaps and bounds and dentistry is no different. Some of the staples of modern-day dental practices are relatively new. For instance, the drill which is so necessary for a variety of applications in the dental office was not developed until 1957. Prior to using extractors to remove teeth, an archaic-looking tool known as a turnkey was used. Thankfully, technology has evolved well past that now.
Some of the cutting-edge technology utilized by today’s modern dental practices include such things as CAD/CAM, soft tissue laser, digital panoramic x-ray, the ultrasonic scaler, 3D Cone Beam, and the intraoral camera. Innovative and effective advances that are now used as a standard in our practice include:
Soft Tissue Laser
A soft tissue laser is used to treat diseases affecting the soft tissues, such as gum disease or peri-implantitis, a condition that is similar to gum disease that causes degeneration of the tissues surrounding dental implants.
The treatment is also used in minor surgical procedures, such as uncovering dental implants to attach the crown in the final, restorative phase of the treatment. In effect, a soft tissue laser takes the place of a scalpel, and because no surgical incision is made in the gum there is less bleeding, and the gum heals faster. It also means impressions of the mouth can be taken on the same day as a dental implant has been placed, rather than having to wait for the gums to heal.
Introduced several decades ago computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture (CAD/CAM) has revolutionized the design and manufacture of dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, veneers, inlays, and onlays.
Traditionally, prosthetic restorations have been made by dental laboratories. However, many modern dental offices now have their own on-site laboratories and using CAD/CAM computer software are able to design these for patients while they wait.
Using digital scanning equipment and a computer screen, dental restorations can be designed and adjusted on a screen until the dentist and patient are both happy. The approved images are sent at the touch of a button to a milling machine in the onsite lab, where the restoration is produced from a single block of ceramic. The restoration can be fitted that same day.
Digital Panoramic X-Ray
Digital panoramic x-ray produces a 2D image of the entire mouth, enabling our dentists to see your jaw, teeth, and other oral structures and how they relate to each other on one flat image. In comparison to traditional x-rays, the radiation doses from digital x-rays are significantly smaller and eminently safer. Creating a single image of the entire patient’s mouth is one of the biggest benefits of a panoramic x-ray. These are vital when trying to diagnose and treat numerous oral cavity issues.
Scaling and root planing is one of the most effective ways of treating periodontal gum disease. Through the use of ultrasonic scalers, we are now able to clean off the roots of your teeth with a greater level of effectiveness and efficiency. Instead of having to only use manual scalers, we are now able to provide scaling with much greater proficiency, keeping you more comfortable, and allowing us to get treatments done in less time.
Manual scalers are helpful, but they are only able to touch your teeth about once per second. This means they are able to get the calculus (buildup) off of your teeth, but they take a while to get it all. When using ultrasonic scalers, the sonic vibrations allow the scaler to touch your tooth anywhere from 3,000 to 8,000 times per second. If we opt for the magnetic ultrasonic scaler, it is able to brush against your tooth between 25,000 and 30,000 times per second. This means that we can get a much deeper level of cleanness when we go in for a root scaling and planing procedure.
An intraoral camera is a small camera, shaped like a wand, that our dentists can use to take digital pictures of the mouth and teeth. These images are available for immediate viewing by our dental team and the patient. This is a great option to use to show the specific area the dentist is working on during the dental exam and can allow for both the patient and our dentist to view small areas which may be hard to reach and see without the camera.
With an intraoral camera, our team can not only explain a procedure, but show it to our patients in real-time. This is a great way to help our patients feel more comfortable while visiting us, educating them about their oral health and what their procedure might entail. Our dentists enjoy using this camera because it increases the trust between our dentists and the patients, offering transparency where it was not available before and helps educate patients on the dental procedures they need to have done.
3D Cone Beam
3D Cone Beam CT scans are used both as a diagnostic tool, as well as for treatment planning. The 3D image it produces measures bone density and thickness and provides an accurate assessment of whether there is enough viable bone in the jaw to support dental implants.
The scans are also used as a guide during implant procedures to ensure that implants are placed in the exact spot for a successful outcome.
Guided Implant Tech
Some of these technologies are used together, such as digital x-rays, CT scans, and CAD/CAM to create Guided Implant Technology—which replaces missing teeth with computer-guided dental implant surgery.
Micro dentistry is used to see areas in the mouth in much greater detail. The equipment illuminates and magnifies, ensuring critical details that may be overlooked by the naked eye are spotted by the dentist and treated accordingly.
Find Out More!
Applying these advancements in dental technology allows modern-day practices to offer treatments and solutions to oral cavity problems with much greater ease. For those patients in need of treatment or assessment and to find out more about the technology we use, please contact our office located at Covington Family Dental. We are always available to meet your needs.