When I started my dental career in 1994, things were very different than they are today. Luckily, over the last 25 years, technology has made the dental profession a pretty great place to be. New materials and techniques have allowed us to improve patient care, while technology and digital imaging has streamlined patient communication.
Leveraging Technology in our Dentist Office
As technology has advanced, so have the ways that we use it in the dental practice. You may notice that our charts are now digital, which is great when you’re looking for a note about the patient. Digital imaging has also helped us improve patient care in a number of ways.
We used to take x-rays and not even show them to the patient. Now, thanks to digital x-rays, I can pull a patient’s images up on the screen and walk them through their issues. The images are so clear that I’m teaching patients how to read the x-rays themselves so they can be an active participant in their health. The digital archive is also incredible to see a patient’s progress over the years.
Digital scanning has also revolutionized patient care. Rather than take an impression of the mouth for crowns, veneers or orthodontics, we can scan the area for a more precise measurement. Not only is this more accurate than an impression, it allows dentists from all over the world to collaborate on patient care. I can send a patient scan to a good friend in Madrid to get their opinion on the treatment plan, which is an incredible asset to the patient.
Digital photography has also improved patient communication. By taking high-resolution images of the patient’s mouth, I’m able to show them what they may not necessarily feel. Traditionally, we would show patients area of decay using a small mirror in their mouth. Now, we can put an image on a big screen, which makes it easier for them and me to see the problem areas.
More Consistent, Comfortable Outcomes for Dental Patients
The materials and treatments used in our office have also changed over the last 25 years, allowing us to offer a more predictable and more comfortable outcome for patients. These include:
Before, if you lost a tooth you’d get a bridge. If the bridge failed, you’d get a bigger bridge, and if that bridge failed then you’d get a partial denture and eventually a full denture. The problem with bridges is that it compromises the integrity of two healthy teeth. Luckily, implants now fill gaps without touching the surrounding teeth. They also look more natural, are easier to clean and are incredibly strong. This has been a game changer in dentistry and certainly helps people get to 100 with more of their natural teeth.
Another piece of technology that has been really nice for patient care has been Invisalign. Twenty years ago, I would see an adult patient who wanted to fix their smile and wouldn’t even consider orthodontics. They would rather do “instant orthodontics” with crowns and veneers, which requires removing a considerable amount of tooth structure. When Invisalign came around, we finally had the option to improve the smile without losing enamel. After completing the Invisalign treatment, if the patient still wants to improve their smile it can be done with whitening and veneers, which are much less invasive.
Get the Latest in Dental Care
These are just a few ways that our office is keeping up with the latest technology to improve patient care. Looking to take advantage of the latest dental technology to improve your smile? Contact us today to schedule an dentist appointment.