Technology has been improving the quality of our lives in various ways, and this is very evident in the way dentistry has changed over the past decade or two. Digital imaging and other advancements have changed the way dentists make diagnoses and ensure the comfort of their patients, and they go a long way towards making every visit more efficient and productive. Today’s treatments are also much less invasive, and the restorations we use are healthier for the teeth.
Dr. Bob and Dr. Chris fully appreciate the importance of staying informed about the latest advancements, and they continually strive to learn new techniques for helping patients enjoy their dental experience. This page outlines some of the first-class technology that makes our dental office stand out in Midlothian.
Traditional dental X-rays have been used for a very long time, but they do have their drawbacks. They’re known to emit a considerable amount of radiation (despite many precautions being taken to keep patient exposure as low as possible), and they take a lot of time to develop, leaving patients waiting in the dental chair for longer periods of time. Digital radiography has transformed the way we handle X-rays, cutting down radiation exposure by a substantial amount and improving the quality of the images.
The process is somewhat different when using digital technology. A special electronic sensor that is connected to a computer takes images of your teeth from the appropriate angles. Then, instead of being taken to a dark room for a lengthy development process that involves toxic chemicals, the images are immediately sent to a chairside screen so that we can review them right away and start drawing conclusions about your oral health. Also, thanks to the nature of digital images, we can manipulate the X-rays to bring certain details into greater focus, and we can more easily store them so that they can be easily accessed for insurance or referral purposes.
When you look at an intraoral camera, you might think that it looks like a wand or even a toothbrush without any bristles. At the end of the device is a tiny video camera that is protected by a special sheath so that it can be safely used inside the mouth. The advantage of the intraoral camera is that it can be used to take pictures of the teeth and gums from various angles. It only takes a view short minutes to take numerous pictures that give us a clear idea of the state of your teeth and gums. We can display these images on our chairside monitor so that you can get a good look at problem areas for yourself and get a clear visual picture of what we’re talking about when we describe your oral health concerns.
Intraoral cameras continue to be upgraded and improved to take better, clearer pictures even after twenty years, and they are considered an extremely important instrument in any dentist’s toolkit.
When an X-ray is not enough, dental cone beam computed tomography is used to gather information about the entire mouth. A CT scan is performed in preparation for particularly advanced procedure. For example, it is extremely useful for the following treatments:
Tooth restorations have traditionally been designed based on putty impressions, which are uncomfortable to take and can cause quite a mess. Today, intraoral scanners have improved the process so that now we can take digital impressions. It takes much less time, and it’s less prone to error. The impressions can be rendered in full color to help with the planning process. While taking impressions is of course necessary for designing crowns and other restorations, it’s also an important step in planning orthodontic care.