Modern Dental Technology
Today's dentistry poses educational and technological demands that were unthought-of two decades ago. Innovations in dental implants and computer systems have caused an upward spike in the learning curve required to transcend the average in the practice of dentistry. At Dental Leaders, one of the practice’s greatest obligation is to not lose track of the patient in the midst of the technology—a common failing of those dentists who think that merely owning the equipment is enough.
Doctors Groh, Souviron, and Correa have been on the cutting edge of dental knowledge, and have proven over the years the exercise of good judgment in separating fads from truly useful techniques. Below is a list and explanation of some of the many technologic innovations that will enhance, not detract from, patients’ dental experience.
- Digital radiography is the process of utilizing computer-assisted x-rays—without the use of darkrooms or chemicals, and requiring less waiting time. The x-rays flash right up on the computer screen, providing more information and using only about 10 percent of the radiation of conventional x-rays, which is already quite low.
- Intraoral cameras provide a more accurate diagnosis by magnifying digital images of the teeth and mouth on the computer monitor. The added benefit to patients is that they get to see everything the doctors do, and thus participate more in treatment decisions.
- Piezo tartar removal is a special type of periodontal, or deep cleaning, performed with a supersonically vibrating instrument. Multiple scientific studies have found this type of cleaning to be more accurate in tartar removal than other types of cleaning. The practice’s dental hygienists use a combination of hand and piezo cleaning according to the individual needs and comfort of each patient.
- Microprocessor anesthesia monitors are used for all patients undergoing anesthesia services. Constant monitoring of blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiogram are standard safety measures for all sedation and general anesthesia patients.
- Computerized jaw tracking is one of the many means we have of diagnosing and documenting TMJ and related problems. Comfortable magnetic sensors are placed on the patient's jaws and the path and motion of jaw movement are computer analyzed. This process is similar to the gait analysis now used by many orthopedic specialists.
- Electromyography is yet another computer-assisted diagnosis for facial and TMJ pain, although this one is focused more on muscles than the mechanical parts of the jaw joints. It comfortably, easily and repeatedly diagnoses spastic muscles and allows for the measuring of improvement after therapeutic measures.
- Doppler Auscultation is an easy and painless means of using a super high-powered Doppler stethoscope to hear the multiplicity of noises and crepitations made by unhealthy jaw joints. This is one way of diagnosing internal problems without the expense of an MRI or CAT scan. Analysis of the type and timing of the joint sounds gives a good interpretation of internal pathology.
- Multimedia patient education and relaxation materials are available to all patients in multiple formats, including CD-ROM, videotapes, audio tapes, and print materials. Most are available in multi-lingual formats.
- Integrated Practice Management System Practice Works, a subsidiary of Zila Pharmaceuticals, has provided Dental Leaders with a computerized practice management system. What this means is that patient records, appointments, history, x-rays and images, and financial accounts can be accessed from any computer in the office. This system is carefully protected by security, and is actually safer than paper records. The advantage to patients is instant access to personal information when and where it is needed.