In this second posting from a 10-part series, we’ll explore Secrets Your Dentist Doesn’t Want You to Know. We’ll take a look at why your dentist might not want you asking these questions—and why it’s critical that you should. When your oral health and beautiful smile are at stake, you owe it to yourself to make sure you have all the facts.
The technological advancements made recently in dentistry have been awesome. At Northway Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves on keeping up with new technology. In fact, we sometimes have used “new” technology for so long that we are already taking it for granted by the time other dentists in the area start toying around with it. We sometimes assume all offices are using these new advances, and we’re often surprised to realize they don’t.
Some examples: we have been using ultrasonic scalers, digital x-rays and diagnostic laser detectors for years. In 1998 we were the first office in West Michigan to install chair-side computers in all our operatories and as a result, we’ve been completely paperless since 2007. While I sometimes miss the patient charts for my notes, we committed to the change ultimately because it significantly reduces the transference of germs throughout the office. It is obviously absurd to expect charts that in some cases have been around for 30 years and handled by scores of individuals to be clean.
Also in 1998, we were the first to implement CEREC crowns to our office. Since we were one of the first to be able to afford and master the new technology, we were tapped by the company for years to give demonstrations to other area dentists. This amazing technology allows us to fabricate crowns, onlays and inlays in a single appointment, utilizing infrared 3-dimensional cameras and computers to design and mill them while we wait. This eliminates the need for impressions, temporaries and additional appointments. We have placed well over 6,000 restorations since 1998, far more than any other office in West Michigan.
By the way, they keep getting better every year!
We recently added Single Tooth Anesthesia (STA) to our technological tool belt. STA replaces the dreaded shot of anesthesia used to numb teeth before drilling. You know, the one that was poked through your gums, was questionable as to whether it had taken effect or not, and then left your tongue, lips and cheeks numb for hours? We’ve found a better way, and our patients are loving the results!
With today’s technology, there really is no excuse for not finding better ways to care for your teeth. Is your dentist keeping up with technology? Ask your dentist what tools he’s using, how long he’s been using and how often he evaluates new technology. Is she using something we don’t offer? Let me know! I love to hear what others are doing to keep the practice of dentistry moving forward.