Sometimes there is a bit of a time travel shock for people who haven’t been to a modern dental office for awhile. Just like all areas of medicine, technology has changed exponentially. Here are a few things to look for.
Digital X-rays are one of the latest and safest X-ray techniques used in the industry today. It uses a flat sensor or pad rather than X-ray film, which enables the dentist to immediately send the image into a computer where it can be printed, stored or viewed. This enables the dentist to catch small changes in the teeth sooner and to implement more effective treatment plans while using much less exposure than conventional X-rays.
Gum Treatments and Cavity Detection with Lasers
Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss. It has also been associated with other serious diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Modern dentists are much more proactive about treating gum problems in the earliest stage possible. They look for signs of new or recurring infection at every cleaning appointment and are able to quickly act to turn things around with conservative, non surgical treatments. Laser technology helps detect cavities in the pits of teeth invisible to the eye. We can catch decay earlier and remove it conservatively.
Sterile, Wrapped Dental Instruments
The up to date dental professional understands and utilizes the latest methods for the cleaning and sterilization of re-usable dental instruments. He or she uses wrapped systems that allow the sterilization agent to penetrate the instruments, and maintain their sterility after the process. Every instrument in a modern office is sterilized in an autoclave!
Low Noise Dental Handpieces
Gone are the days of the shrill, high pitched sound of the dental drill that so many dental patients feared. Modern handpieces are low-noise to gently remove dental decay.
Digital Dental Work
Crowns, bridges, veneers, onlays have become high tech. The tooth can often be scanned with a wand, sent digitally to a hi tech dental lab, and processed into beautiful, life-like, accurate restorations that are bonded in place. Sometimes, using CAD CAM technology, crowns can even be made by a robot like machine right in the dental office.
Athough people still refer to it as “Novacaine” that anesthetic actually has not been used for years. Modern dentist have a variety of fast acting anesthetics to choose from. They work much quicker, provide more numbness, and often wear off much more quickly than in the past. Sedation dentistry is often available and has become safe and affordable.
Insurance used to be complicated and time consuming. Computerized offices are able to file claims electronically, cutting down on the complicated paperwork patients used to have to go through. Claims are processed immediately to maximize benefits. Overall, seeing today’s modern dentist with the latest equipment and techniques can transform one's visit into an easy and comfortable, dental health care experience.
Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. 717-334-0555 GettysburgFamilyDentist.com