If you have had to upgrade your computer lately, or tried to find a charger for an old smartphone, then you have some idea of the ways in which technology can seem to advance at lightning speed. Technology advances by leaps and bounds. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to keep up.
It is no different when it comes to dental technology. What was state-of-the-art mere months ago could be virtually obsolete today. At Martin Dentistry in Stockton, CA, we are constantly updating our technology to ensure that our patients benefit from what is most advanced and most effective. The following are just some of the ways that we use the power of modern technology to make sure our patients get the best possible care.
Not all that long ago, your dental care was based primarily on what your dentist could see with the naked eye, or learn from film-based x-rays. The visual exam was as good as your dentist’s eyes, or eyeglasses, and x-rays could often come out blurry.
Today, your dentist uses intra-oral cameras to find decay and other issues. There is no longer any such thing as a dentist telling you that he thinks he might see a cavity – he knows. This means that cavities can be identified in the very early stages, and treated before they become problematic – often, even without local anesthetic. There is no more guesswork, and dental problems do not have to develop to the point where costly treatments are required. The images that are taken are delivered to a computer screen, where your dentist (and you) can see a full, accurate picture of what is going on in your mouth.
Dental x-rays still have a place in your oral care, but they are far less time-consuming and also far more comfortable. You no longer have to have your jaws opened wide so that a metal plate can be inserted into your mouth – the cameras that are used now are very small and non-intrusive. Additionally, there is no pain – with the old technology, a patient who was being assessed for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), who was already in serious discomfort, would find having x-rays taking at best uncomfortable, and at worst excruciating. Today’s tiny cameras make that a thing of the past.
You also no longer have to wait to have films developed, and possibly go through the whole process again if the images were unsatisfactory. With digital x-rays, you can usually count on a crystal-clear image on the first try. Digital x-rays are easier on the patient and on the dentist as well.
CT Cone Beam
CT scans are another digital imaging technique that is used in modern dentist offices. In fact, they are now one of the best methods of locating the best place to position an implant or a stent. The CT cone beam provides your dentist with a complete three-dimensional image of your mouth, showing all of your teeth and your full jaw structure. It is far more effective than old, film-based x-rays and also safer because the radiation level is considerably lower.
With the CT cone beam, all you need to do is sit in the dentist chair and relax. It is not like a CT scan you would have in the hospital – there is no coffin-like machine that you have to enter. Your dentist will use the cone beam to identify impacted teeth, problems with your temporomandibular joint, and also look for tumors. If any anomalies are found, the dentist will talk with you about recommended treatments.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is far more common than you might think. In fact, in any given day, approximately 1,500 new cases are identified. As is the case with many types of cancer, though, if oral cancer is discovered in the early stages, it is curable.
At Martin Dentistry, we use the Oral CDx® method of identifying oral cancer. It is a test that we do in the office that tells us whether or not unusual spots in your mouth are cancerous. It consists simply of a brush that we use to get a sample of the problematic spot so that it can be biopsied. There is no pain involved, and you will not even need a local anesthetic – it is really no different from the way that you brush your tongue at the same time as you brush your teeth.
Most of the time, a biopsy will come back negative and you will have nothing to worry about. If there is cancer present, though, you can be assured that the high-tech computers at the lab that conducts the biopsy will find it. Then you can have the treatment you need, and get back to enjoying your life. OralCDx is highly accurate and can identify oral cancer in its earliest stages.
Panoramic X-Ray Machine
Dental radiography has advanced in huge ways since the days of dental film and processing chemicals. Today, your dentist is more likely to use digital technology and a panoramic x-ray machine that takes pictures of your mouth from every possible angle. The camera used is tiny, so you do not have to worry about discomfort in your jaw while the x-rays are taken, and if you are concerned about the environment, you can take comfort in knowing that the procedure is entirely chemical-free.
With panoramic x-rays, your images will be processed more quickly and delivered to a computer screen with full accuracy and no blurring. This means that your dentist is able to give you a more accurate diagnosis, and offer better suggestions for treatment. It also means that if you need to have images sent to your insurance company to prove the treatment you need, they can be sent instantly via email using fully-integrated software.
Electric Hand Pieces
When people are nervous at the dentist, it is usually due either to fear of the needle, or the noise from the drill. Some patients find both needle and drill problematic, and many actually find the drill to be the more troublesome of the two. Often the problem is not even having the drill in their mouth – it’s just the sound of it.
If you dislike the sound of the drill, you will be pleased to know that at Martin Dentistry, we use electric hand pieces. Not only does this mean far less noise than with the drill, it also enables us to perform dental treatments with a greater degree of precision. Decayed areas can be targeted and removed more accurately, and this means that less of the healthy tooth will be excised during the process. It also means that your fillings will adhere more effectively, so they will last longer.
Dr. Irving Ellman was an electrical engineer and inventor as well as a dentist, and he pioneered the use of various types of dental equipment that are still in use today. One such invention is the rotosonic scaler, which is an efficient means of removing calculus from tooth roots.
Later on, Dr. Ellman began working on the ways in which radio waves could be applied to dental surgery. Using diathermy, which is a means of delivering heat by means of shortwaves, ultrasound or microwaves as the basis, Dr. Ellman created the Dento-Surg radio frequency device. This allows dentists to perform oral surgery using frequency radio waves. Radio surgery is minimally invasive, allowing for a bloodless incision and very little damage to tissue. Oral surgery can be done more quickly, with less stress to the patient, and the healing time required post-surgery is lessened. Patients also experience less discomfort during the healing phase.
All Apple Products
The PC vs. Apple debate began more than 30 years ago, and continues to this day. For much of that time, dentists have been essentially forced to use the PC platform, simply because there were no solid Mac options available. Practically everything a dentist office needed, from imaging software to insurance management, was available only for PC users.
This has changed, and today Mac technology is the standard in many dentist offices, Martin Dentistry being no exception. Dental applications for Mac now have the same capabilities as Windows solutions, along with the ease of operation and virtual imperviousness to malware attacks that Apple is known for.
Everything we do at Martin Dentistry, from scheduling your appointment to imaging your teeth to using software to manipulate those images, right on through to your final billing is done using all Apple products. It is just another way for us to serve you better.
Dental treatments are less expensive, more effective, and easier than ever before with today’s ever-evolving dental technology. At Martin Dentistry, we are always looking for new ways to serve you with the most up-to-date equipment and treatments available. To arrange an appointment, call us at 209-951-4251, or use the convenient form on our Contact Us page. Our office is located at 1310 East Swain Road, Suite 2, Stockton, CA 95210.