Technology in Modern Dentistry

Technology has revolutionized the way we take care of our teeth, and it has revolutionized how dentists repair teeth.  We have experienced advances in technology that allow us to do things that were unimaginable in years past.   With all this change comes a lot of challenges.  It is difficult to keep up with the advances and to make sure that the claims of a product’s developer hold up to scrutiny.  Every year 1000’s of new products, materials and techniques are introduced to the dental marketplace.  Most of these products are simply repackaging of old technology with new claims of improvement, or slick packaging and advertising designed to appeal to a certain market demographic.   Some are new products that have little evidence of benefit despite their big claims.   Amazingly, many of them are sold not on their medical merit but on how much money they will make for the dentist that uses them.

We are committed to bringing the latest technological advances to our patients.  Sifting through all of this information requires a steadfast commitment to excellence in clinical care, and the choosing of products based on their merit as medical treatments.  We adhere to a philosophy of evidence based dentistry which forces us to research the benefits and risks associated with each new piece of equipment to make sure that it improves the overall quality of care.   There have been many products that were adopted too quickly, only to find out later, they did not live up to their marketer’s grand claims.

Here are some of the technology advances we have implemented:

  • Digital Radiography - Digital x-rays reduce radiation exposure over traditional film radiography and allow for faster diagnosis and easier communication with specialists and insurance companies.
  • Cone Beam CT – 3D radiographs have become the standard when doing dental implants, but our cone beam CT unit has many other features.  This technology is truly amazing.  As the first, and currently the only, general dentist in Tuolumne county to have one you will pleased to know that we are on the forefront of modern dentistry.   One added benefit is that we can take the normal dental type radiographs without even having to put anything in your mouth – a huge benefit for those who have a hard time with traditional dental X-rays.  If you are concerned about radiation exposure you will also be pleased to know that radiation exposure from this new technology is 95% less than traditional CT scans, and we can use this machine to make an image of only a very small part of your mouth – further reducing the amount of x-rays used (to less that what you would receive flying from San Francisco to New York).  We adhere to a philosophy of taking the minimum amount of x-rays necessary to accomplish the job at hand.  This medical principal is called ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Allowable.
  • Same Day Milled Crowns – We utilize this technology, not only because it provides a treatment in a few hours that used to take two weeks, but because the quality is amazing.  we also exclusively use a porcelain that is stronger than your own enamel.  This material requires more time to fabricate than some of the other materials used with this technique but provides a stronger, longer lasting crown.   Despite the amazing nature of this technology there are many crowns that are best made in the traditional manner by a laboratory technician.   We utilize a variety of dental laboratory technicians that do excellent quality work when these are the best option.
  • Root Canal Technology – There are many new devices and instruments that make root canals much quicker and less painful then they used to be.   Unfortunately, this is one of those areas where the push to over simplify a procedure has lead to a lot of products and techniques that have not improved the quality of care.  They have only served to make it easier and faster for dentists to do the procedure.  We provide endodontic services in our office utilizing sound scientifically researched techniques, materials and the latest proven equipment.
  • Dental Implants – Dental implants have revolutionized dentistry, and new products with grand claims seem to come out on a weekly basis.  Dental implants are a high tech treatment that has created a whole new field of dental care.  The challenge here is deciphering which techniques and products will lead to the best results.  I am regularly investigating the latest advances that have research to support the predictability of their outcomes.