Advanced DentistryDentists vary in terms of their proficiency with using advanced technologies, so finding a dentist who knows how to use cutting edge tools is important! Advanced technologies in dentistry can make the difference between discovering dental issues early and a procedure that goes smoothly or one that ends up causing additional problems. But how do the latest technologies in dentistry really affect patients? Below is a discussion of some of the most important benefits that patients enjoy when they go to a dentist who’s well-versed in dental technologies1.

Better Screening Procedures

When you arrive at the dental clinic, screening is always the first part of the visit because your dentist needs to know what’s wrong in order to fix it. But screening technologies vary widely. More advanced screening technologies allow dentists to diagnose issues with much greater precision and occasionally treat dental issues before the patient even realizes a problem exists.

Digital X-rays

Advanced digital x-rays are an important part of the dental screening process. This technology saves time during your appointment and provides a clearer image of what’s really going on inside your mouth. Advanced digital x-rays are also safer than traditional x-rays. Patients are exposed to less x-ray radiation using high-tech digital x-rays than when traditional x-ray technology is used to map out problem areas inside the mouth.

At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implants, we use low-radiation digital x-rays to create high-definition tooth and gum images that are immediately available so that patients can see the results right away from a computer monitor. Digital x-rays are a valuable tool that we use to keep patients fully informed and educated about their treatment plan.

Intraoral Cameras

Intraoral cameras further assist the dentist in discovering what’s going on inside your mouth. At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implants, we use intraoral cameras to carefully examine and take photos of each individual tooth and every nook and cranny inside your mouth. These photos can be magnified to make it easy for patients to see problematic areas for themselves.

The cameras allow us to see plaque deposits, cracked teeth, cavities, excessive wear, and issues that have arisen as a result of fillings that were made in the past. Using the camera, we can spot problems early and begin treatment while problems are still at a manageable stage. Our goal is always to avoid invasive treatments and instead, diagnose issues early so that patients can receive simple, effective treatments.

The intraoral camera is about the same size as a dental mirror, but this tool allows the patient as well as the dentist to see the deepest, darkest corners of the mouth. Our patients often report that this tool has made them more aware of their dental health needs. By seeing their mouth in great detail, patients are able to make a more informed decision about their treatment options.

Increased Treatment Precision

New technologies have made it possible to create virtual 3-dimensional replicas of the patient’s mouth. These 3-dimensional replicas allow the dentist to virtually manipulate the mouth in order to create the best dental treatment plan possible and ensure the highest level of precision in the field when treating dental issues and creating custom dental restorations.

Digital Dental Impressions

Though dental impressions have traditionally been an important part of dental restoration, today there’s a better, more advanced tool available to avoid the discomfort of traditional impressions. At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implants, we use Digital Dental Impressions so our patients won’t have to endure the mess of traditional impressions. One of the benefits of digital impressions is that they increase the efficiency and accuracy of creating a 3-D representation of the patient’s mouth. Dentists can send an email of the virtual impression to the laboratory which makes same-day dental restorations possible. As a result, patients spend less time in the dental chair and there’s no need to endure the distasteful experience of having a traditional dental impression taken.

At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implants, our digital impression provide a stunningly accurate representation of both the soft and bony structures inside the mouth within only 3 to 5 minutes. The impression allows us to create customized dental restorations that are comfortable and accurate to the shape of each patient’s oral cavity. The final virtual replica of both the hard and soft tissues in the mouth is both clear and precise and it can be stored digitally for an indefinite period of time using this tool. Digital impressions allow us to avoid the inconvenience and fallibility of traditional dental impressions. Instead of having a fragile 3-D model of the teeth that must be mailed into a lab, our dentists use digital impressions to create a virtual model of the patient’s teeth that can be manipulated using computer-based software.

Digital CT Imaging

CT imaging using digital technologies allows your dentist to develop extremely precise images of the patient’s teeth so that the dentist can develop a highly accurate health diagnosis. CT diagnostic imaging uses x-rays to measure an object from all directions at the same time to create a 3-dimensional image. At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implants, we use digital CT imaging for dental implants, TMJ treatment, wisdom teeth extractions, airway assessments to treat sleep apneas, impactions, and full facial and 3-D jaw images.

By using digital CT imaging, we’re able to provide the most comfortable and most comprehensive treatment plan possible for our patients. The 20-second scan is all that we need to provide each patient with enough information for a complete diagnosis. This diagnostic tool is safer than using a traditional CT scanner because it delivers far less radiation to the patient. This imaging system is affordable and by using this tool, patients are empowered to become more active participants in their own treatment plan because it’s easy for us to share data with patients to keep them fully informed. Further, patients undergoing digital CT imaging remain seated in a spacious environment that’s both comfortable and relaxing.

Paperless and Private Record-Keeping

Advanced technologies not only increase the efficiency, comfort, safety, and precision of dental treatments, but they also contribute to an ecologically-friendly administrative environment. Detailed 3-dimensional images of each patients’ mouth can be kept on file in digital archives that are totally private and secure. The amount of precise information that we can gather and store for each patient is exponentially higher as a result of technological advancements, but at the same time, these records are stored behind a firewall that guarantees a much higher level of privacy than what’s possible using a paper-based filing system. As a result, these technologies have allowed us to create an ecologically-friendly dental space with private and secure record-keeping capabilities.