Many new technologies have been developed that help us provide faster, safer, and more reliable care. We’d like to introduce you to a few of the technologies we’ve incorporated into our practice.
Smaller cavity = less destruction of the tooth = smaller filling. Smaller fillings typically last longer and do not weaken the tooth as much as larger fillings. In addition, the smaller Fluorescence Cavity Detection | Dentist Fort Collins COthe cavity, the less likely the tooth will be sensitive following placing a filling and the less likely the tooth will need root canal treatment.
Cavities form when acid erodes a hole through the hard outer shell of enamel that covers a tooth. This exposes the softer dentin layer to decay. The old method for detecting decay was to use an instrument called an explorer with a very tiny pointed tip to find holes in the enamel. The problem is that holes in the enamel can be smaller than the tip of the explorer, so this method is not as sensitive as fluorescent cavity detection. Because dentin decays much faster than enamel, by the time the hole in the enamel can be found with the explorer, the dentin underneath may be severely decayed.
With the advances in fluorescence technology, we can now shine a light on the surface of the tooth and metabolic products specific to cavity-causing bacteria glow, allowing earlier detection. Dr. Gray still uses explorers, but now he has far more sensitive diagnostic equipment available as well!
Tooth-colored composite filling materials are a fantastic way to repair teeth affected by decay and replace of old leaking silver fillings. However, they do have characteristics that make them technically challenging to place in certain situations. The sonic fill device uses high-frequency vibration to give the composite a combination of highly-favorable handling and hardening characteristics. The final result is a longer-lasting filling due to a better adaptation of the composite to the tooth, fewer voids in the material, and less stress on the tooth during bonding.
Periodontal disease involves a huge variety of bacteria living in colonies that form a complex biofilm under the gum tissue. This biofilm is difficult to remove. It forms multiple layers that protect each other from chemical intervention such as drugs and mouthwashes. Due to limited access and the amount of surface area involved, removal by physical means is also difficult. Effective periodontal therapy involves far more complex techniques than “scraping the teeth.”
To remove this biofilm as effectively and efficiently as possible, we use ultrasonic scalers as part of our periodontal therapy. These scalers include a hand piece and an interchangeable tip. The tips come in a variety of shapes and sizes so that we can effectively clean any area around your teeth.
The tips are powered by piezo-electric technology which causes the tip of the scaler to move back and forth at approximately 30,000 cycles/second! Because they move so fast, water or antiseptic solution is used to keep the tip cool. The combination of fast cycling ultrasonic tips and constant water lavage confers a number of benefits over hand scaling alone:
Digital radiographs (x-rays) offer several advantages over traditional film x-rays. In addition to using considerably less radiation than traditional dental x-rays, they are also practically instant. Plus, digital radiographs are viewed on a computer, and the software allows us to zoom in and highlight portions of the image so that we can more effectively diagnose dental conditions and easily show you what we’re seeing. One thing many patients notice right away is that the digital sensor has rounded corners and edges and is much more comfortable than the sharp films offices used to use.
An intraoral camera is a small device, about the size and shape of a pen, that we can use to take digital images of the inside of your mouth. Our camera sends images directly to the monitor so that we can clearly see (and show you!) exactly what is happening in your mouth. We use our camera both for improved diagnostics and patient education.
No more whining! For many people, the high-pitched whine of a dental drill causes immediate anxiety. We are happy to announce that we’ve replaced this 40-year-old technology with the highest standard for modern dental handpieces: electric motor-driven handpieces.
These tools are much quieter and low-pitched than the old air-driven drills some offices use. In addition, they are far less traumatic to the tooth. The old drills ran at extremely high RPMs, generating a great deal of friction and heat and making very precise shaping difficult. The new electric hand pieces are engineered with lower RPMs and higher torque. This reduces the friction and the amount of heat generated, which is extremely important because heat on teeth can cause irreversible damage to the nerve of the tooth very quickly. The RPMs on the new electric hand pieces can be adjusted very precisely, allowing Dr. Gray far better control for precise shaping of the teeth.
The days of paper charts are over! Electronic charts have a number of advantages over the old charting methods. When we use electronic charts, your information is immediately available, making it possible for Dr. Gray to quickly review any ongoing concerns, track treatment, and see progress. In addition, we can incorporate digital images from x-rays and intraoral cameras into your chart so that all your information is in one place.
We take digital photographs for a number of reasons. Digital pictures help us with treatment planning and allow us to review your case and consider treatment options even when you are not present. We also send these images to the lab when we are creating crowns or other restorations so that the lab can better-match the shade of your natural teeth. Digital photos allow us to track progress and can be added directly to your electronic record for easy retrieval. We also send these images to your insurance company to demonstrate the necessity of treatment and prevent delays in reimbursement.
Use of the latest LED technology allows us to provide a bright, color-corrected atmosphere in the office without the same heat and environmental impact as older types of bulbs. Dr. Gray’s operatory lights are also LED and have a cure-safe mode. Tooth-colored filling material is hardened (or cured) with light, so without a cure-safe mode dentists have to work with the filling material without the light, or risk curing it before they’re ready. With a cure-safe light, Dr. Gray can work with your filling material until he is completely happy with it before curing it.
One of our primary goals is to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your dental care. We want you to feel comfortable about your treatment decisions. To help you see what we see, we have Installed patient monitors in each treatment room so that we can show you our findings using radiographs, photographs, and periodontal charts.