Q: As a layperson, how would I know if my current dental office is up to date with the latest equipment and techniques? I need a bunch of crowns, implants and my wife is thinking of veneers.
A: I agree with you; I too am a layperson when it comes to just about anything; unless it has teeth!
Unfortunately, there is no “Consumer Report” which ranks dental offices based on their technology. Always check the Google reviews, but see if the patients had the kind of procedures you are looking for. It’s tough to make an educated decision when all you see is: “Dr. X is great!” (Will you let him take your appendix out based on a bunch of reviews like that!? Maybe it’s his cologne they are commenting on?)
Here is a check list of just a few of the items and techniques found in hi-tech offices:
Digital No-Goop impressions with iTero; more accurate, faster and no gagging goop.
Scan-able implants : These are special implants that very often do not need a second surgery to expose them for impressions. We simply wave the camera wand of the iTero over the top of the implant making for a digital replica model of your mouth in which the lab will make your teeth/crowns.
Zero Polygrip Dentures with Locator attachments : No need for Fixodent or Polygrip sticky adhesives; special implants are placed which allow the dentures to snap in and stay put while eating.
Electronic Anesthesia : Virtually painless injections using the Woodpecker Super Pen. An electronic pump that comfortably gives the local anesthetic, replacing the ugly and scary shiny metal syringe of yore.
Osstel and Penguin : Using sound waves, these devices will test if your implant has healed successfully in the bone, or is at risk for failure.
No-Cut Implant surgery : no flaps, incisions or suture. Only a small tissue punch is used to place the implants. Faster healing and much less post operative pain; possibly none at all!
Diode Lasers : When impressions are taken, no more cords packed into the gum causing rapid heart beats and inaccurate models leading to failed dental work.
Digital X-rays : uses almost no radiation vs. conventional film xrays. No developing time or chemicals as they are viewed instantaneously on the computer monitor.
Non-Surgical Periodontal treatment with Arestin : Rather than succumb to gum surgery, these antibiotic granules are placed below the gumline, killing the bacteria that is causing deep pocket formation and bone loss.
The Smile Lift Procedure : Natural looking porcelain veneers combined with laser contouring of uneven gumlines or a gummy smile. Easily making anyone look 10 years younger.
Electric Drills : much quieter than air turbine drills and with more efficient cutting, resulting in less time in the chair for dental work.
Porcelain Inlays : a very conservative treatment vs. a crown.
But wait there’s more; stay tuned!