Have you heard your dentist talking about adding intraoral cameras to their office? What are intraoral cameras and how does it affect the way your dentist cares for you? The investment in the piece of equipment is transforming how dentists and patients talk about dentistry, enhancing the level of communication that can take place concerning the patients’ needs.
Intraoral cameras give you an up-close view.
Understanding your dentist’s explanation of your dental needs is much easier when you can see it for yourself. Whether you need a cavity filled, a dental crown or bridge, or other dental restoration, intraoral cameras capture magnified, high-resolution images that allow you to even make a self-diagnosis on your own.
Saved images are useful for monitoring disease progress.
Some conditions are more difficult to monitor the advancement of; for instance – acid erosion or enamel abrasion. These conditions become more prevalent over time due to nutritional choices and oral hygiene habits. When a baseline image is captured, it can be stored in your chart for future reference. This allows the image to be referenced during follow up visits each year to determine whether or not the area is getting worse.
Images may be used to support information like that on dental insurance claims.
It helps if your dental insurance company can see what’s going on. By capturing images of areas where there is a problem, the insurance carrier can better understand the condition. As a result, they are more likely to approve claims more quickly.
Intraoral cameras are thin, hand-held wands with a bright light and camera on the end. If you’ve seen one, you probably didn’t even realize what it was. The next time your dentist identifies an area of concern and you’re not quite sure that you understand, ask him to show you on the camera!
Posted on behalf of David Kurtzman
Have you ever heard of a digital dental impression? That’s right – one that doesn’t use goopy material in a large tray to take an impression of your teeth? Well, they’re here! Technology like virtual scanning allows dentists to take impressions on their patients’ teeth by using nothing other than a 3D scanning wand.
How does it work? When a patient arrives for a procedure like a same-day crown or onlay, the teeth are prepared as normal. A special material is then placed over the entire tooth, which allows it to be picked up on the scanner. The 3D imaging wand is then directed over the surfaces of the teeth and that data is transferred into the associated computer program. An exact, virtual replica of the teeth is then visible on the screen. This data can be used to send to an on-site milling machine, off-site laboratory, or other type of provider as needed. Computer software then interprets these digital impressions and allows the final device such as a crown, veneer, or even clear orthodontic braces to be made.
Patients with sensitive gag reflexes really enjoy virtual dental impressions, because it prevents them from having to place a large tray of alginate material into their mouth for a few minutes at a time. These digital impressions are also more detailed than a traditional impression, and leave much less room for error. Traditional impressions can become damaged or dried out, making the final results slightly different than your actual mouth. With a digital impression, this isn’t possible!
Digital impressions also help speed up the completion of your treatment, because it eliminates an entire step in the lab manufacturing process! Treatments can be completed sooner, and final restorations available the same day or even days sooner than before.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center
It’s hard for patients to understand what their dentist is always talking about, especially when they can’t see what the dentist sees, or when there are no symptoms telling them that something is actually wrong. One of the ways dentists are improving the communication process with patients is by implementing the use of high definition intra-oral cameras.
Each intra-oral camera is housed on a small wand that can be placed inside of the patient’s mouth, directly over the tooth being addressed. This allows an image to be captured and displayed on a screen directly in the treatment room, so that patients can instantly see the needs that are being discussed. Since the image is enlarged, it makes it easier for everyone to see, and gives plenty of time for the dentist to discuss various aspects of the tooth or restoration under question.
Photographs are also useful for documenting the progression of conditions, such as enamel erosion, toothbrush wear, gum recession, or bruxism. Many patients like to take the photos home with them to look over later, or to discuss with their family. It’s very simple to print the photographs off for patient use, or to keep in the patient’s file for future reference.
There is no charge to have intra-oral photographs taken, and they become a permanent part of the patient’s record right along with their clinical notes and x-rays. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s never been truer. Patients and dentists both love how intra oral photography is improving the ways treatment is planned and discussed in a manner that has never been better.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Omar Damji, Executive Park Dentistry
The technology available to dentists and other dental health care providers today is truly amazing! Advances in dental technology have impacted all aspects of the dental profession and these advances have helped patients and dentists alike, while helping control costs. As one would expect, most of the technology advances have been focused on the increased usage of computers running specialized and very advanced software. In addition, the increased use of sophisticated lasers, have made an impact as well.
Preventative dentistry is one area that technology has made a huge impact. Now dentists have the ability to use 3D x-rays, as well as hand held lasers, to detect and correct cavities earlier than ever before. The early detection of tooth decay through laser cavity detection and other methods results in earlier treatment, which reduces the need to have more expensive procedures done such as root canals. Dental hygienists now use ultrasonic cleaning tools to remove plaque from teeth, reducing the need to manually scrape the patient’s teeth.
Recent technological advances have also positively impacted restorative and cosmetic dentistry. An example of this is the ability to use lasers to remove stains and other discolorations of teeth, restoring their white appearance within an hour. The use of lasers and computer aided manufacturing has made it possible for a patient to have a permanent crown fitted in less than a day. Permanent dental implants are used to replace missing teeth, while state of the art dental veneers are used to repair chipped or uneven teeth.
The advances in dental technology over the last 10 years have been significant and one can only dream of the advances that will occur in the next 10 years!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park
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