ADVANCED DENTAL TECHNOLOGY
In general, technology is accelerating quickly, and the technology specific to dentistry is no different. At Bluffton Center for Dentistry, we believe that technology without proper training and expertise is not effective or beneficial to our patients. State-of-the-art equipment and the knowledge of how to use that equipment to give our patients the best experience in the dentist’s chair are our strengths. In addition, the latest technology and our emphasis on healthy nutrition can help patients live with better oral health, which in turn can lead to better overall health. Some of the technology we use in our office is discussed below. As always, we welcome patient questions about any of the treatment options and technologies we use in our office.
Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC) uses Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology to create same-day dental restorations, improved orthodontic treatment and planning, and integrated implantology. CEREC incorporates a camera, computer and a milling machine in one instrument to take an accurate picture of the damaged tooth. From there, the optical impression is transferred and displayed on a color computer screen, where CAD technology is used to design the restoration. Then CAM takes over and automatically creates the restoration while our patient is still in the dental chair. Next, the new restoration is bonded to the tooth. The whole process usually takes approximately one hour.
For our patients, this means that we no longer need to create temporaries or take impressions and send them off to the lab, therefore eliminating a second follow-up visit to complete your procedure. The restoration is strong, natural‑looking, compatible with tissue in the mouth, anti‑abrasive and plaque resistant.
CEREC can be used for crowns, veneers and inlays.
Digital radiography is a form of X-ray imaging, where digital X-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. Instead of X-ray film, digital radiography uses a digital image capture device. This allows for immediate image preview and availability; elimination of film processing steps; a wider dynamic range, as well as the ability to apply special image processing techniques that enhance overall display quality of the image. If you are scheduled for x-rays you may have a full mouth series or bitewings taken thus allowing the doctor to get a comprehensive view of your teeth, mouth, and jaw. The digital imaging software allows the doctor to see a number of different views of the tooth to gain a better understanding of the proper course of management.
For our patients, this means that you will have a reduction in exposure to radiation, less waiting time, and shorter appointments. In addition, digital radiography allows for patient to be involved in co-diagnosis and to better understand the treatments we recommend.
Digital radiographs can be used to find hidden dental structures, malignant or benign masses, periodontal disease, bone loss, and cavities.
Intraoral cameras (IOCs) are a tool your dentist uses to examine your mouth in as detailed a way as possible, revealing even the smallest details, such as cracks, caries, and other anomalies. The instrument, which may look like an oversized pen, has a camera that takes high-resolution footage or images of a patient’s mouth and shows the visuals real-time on a monitor—they’re like high-tech versions of the hand mirrors you see in dentist’s practice. The visuals from the intraoral camera appear on the monitor as they’re taken.
For our patients, IOCs are an excellent means of allowing you to view potential dental conditions in their own mouth. Our patients are now able to view areas as the dentist sees them for better understanding of recommended treatment. Dentists can display clear, colorful images, allowing them to point out any issues and discuss them with you immediately. It is much easier to understand what is happening in your mouth if you can see the problem on a computer monitor.
Intraoral camera photos can be used to provide information to insurances and other doctors if necessary.
The dental handpiece is the most frequently used tool in the dental office, it is an instrument that uses air or electricity to generate a rotary cutting motion, similar to how a drill operates. Electric handpieces are much stronger than air-driven due to the fact that a motor is spinning the bur as opposed to air. Electric handpieces are faster, more precise, and consistent.
For our patients, this allows us to remove decay at a faster pace, thus reducing the time it takes to complete a procedure. An added bonus is that electric handpieces don’t create the high-pitched whining sound of air powered handpieces, allowing a huge psychological gain for you.
Electric handpieces are used intraorally for tooth preparation and oral surgery, as well as extraorally for polishing and adjustments.
Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) is a surgical/laser protocol that allows for targeted removal of diseased gum tissue, while leaving your body’s own healthy tissues intact. The LANAP procedure is not only scalpel-free and suture-free, but also it is more effective in treating the bacteria that caused periodontitis and it assists in new bone growth. A tiny beam of laser energy is used to treat your moderate to severe gum disease. The laser light gently removes harmful bacteria and diseased tissue from the gum pocket.
For our patients, using the laser therapy is faster, less expensive, less invasive than surgery. There is less bleeding, less pain, less swelling, less sensitivity than surgery as well. In addition, most patients are able to return to their regular routines the next day. Plus, your body heals naturally so that the gum pockets improve and your teeth become more stable.
LANAP is used to treat gum disease.
Root canal treatment, also called endodontic therapy, involves the removal of the infected dental pulp, the disinfection, and the filling and sealing of the root canal system. The tooth is then restored with a permanent filling or a crown. Rotary Endodontics, is a method in which the doctor utilizes an electric handpiece to perform the root canal procedure. The electric handpiece allows the doctor to clean and shape the canals faster and more accurately than using hand files.
For our patients, rotary endodontics is a faster and because it is electric, there is no drill noise. This makes the whole treatment experience much more pleasant. Using the electric tools also allows the doctor more precision.
Rotary endodontics is necessary when the pulp of the tooth is infected following significant caries, cracks in the enamel or a trauma.
Dental lasers are devices emitting powerful, concentrated and monochromatic light (i.e. of a single color and a specific wavelength). Depending on the device used, the light’s wavelengths range from visible to infrared (invisible light). The laser produces waves of photons (particles of light energy) and the absorption of this energy by a target tissue produces a thermal reaction which causes intracellular and intercellular changes. In our Bluffton office we use the Gemini 810 + 980 diode laser. The Gemini is the first dual-wavelength soft tissue diode laser available in the United States. The unique dual-wavelength technology combines the optimal melanin absorption properties with the optimal water absorption properties. The laser features 20 watts of peak super-pulsed power, which means faster, smoother cutting with less tissue tagging.
For our patients, using the laser means a more precise treatment with less bleeding and a faster healing wound, usually with no scar. The laser reduces presence of bacteria and other pathogens due to the increased temperature of the tissue. The laser also requires little or no anesthesia. There is little to no pain during and after the procedure as well.