8 Ways Dental Technology Can Improve Your In-Office Experience
Discover how your dentist’s high-tech dental tools and machines benefit you as a patient.
The dental technology your dentist outfits their practice with doesn’t just make their team’s job easier, it also directly benefits patients. Here are 8 examples of how the dental technology Dr. Sexton uses not only helps him help his patients but also enhances his patients’ experience.
1. Digital X-rays expose you to less radiation while also shortening appointment times.
While radiation exposure from traditional dental X-rays isn’t dangerous, health authorities do recommend limiting exposure as much as possible. This is especially true for patients whose health conditions lead to more frequent X-rays or CT scans.
Digital X-rays do still produce a small amount of radiation, but drastically less than traditional methods. In some cases, radiation exposure from a digital X-ray may be upwards of 90% less than the exposure from a traditional X-ray. An additional benefit you’ll experience as a patient is reduced wait times—digital X-rays are quicker to take and provide Dr. Sexton with a nearly instant picture.
2. Digital imaging creates detailed photographs and allows you to see your future smile before treatment begins.
Dr. Sexton uses digital photography to track his patients’ progress over time. These images are saved to your patient file just like digital X-rays, and can be instantly pulled up for reference at any point during future appointments.
Cosmetic imaging is a more specific form of digital imaging used to show patients a predictive image of their future smile. Patients who have opted for extensive cosmetic care, such as porcelain veneers, will be able to see a digital image of what their smile will look like prior to treatment even beginning. This gives you and Dr. Sexton a chance to make any necessary changes to your plan to ensure you’re happy with your results.
3. Spectra technology enhances your dentist’s ability to spot early signs of tooth decay, even before traditional detection can see it.
Spectra is a dental instrument system that relies on specialized fluorescent technology to spot signs of tooth decay. This dental technology is very precise, allowing Dr. Sexton to spot very small caries (cavities) before they can be picked up through digital X-rays or a visual exam.
Catching tooth decay as soon as possible is undoubtedly beneficial as early diagnosis means faster and less invasive treatment. As a patient, the Spectra tool will give you peace of mind, knowing your smile is truly decay-free, and if an issue is spotted, Dr. Sexton and his team will get you taken care of before your tiny cavity becomes a bigger problem.
4. Intraoral cameras give patients a dentist-eye view of what’s going on in their mouths.
Intraoral cameras not only help dentists get a much closer look inside patients’ mouths, but they also give patients a chance to see real-time footage of the very same image their dentist is viewing. The camera itself is built into a small handheld wand and you’ll be able to view the footage on your dentist’s computer screen or handheld tablet.
Being able to see your teeth and gums in this way gives you insight into your oral health. Dr. Sexton will also be able to point out spots of tooth decay or signs of gum disease you may not otherwise be able to see with a handheld mirror or envision through digital X-rays.
5. Air abrasion eliminates the need for noisy drills and even the use of anesthetics for filling small cavities.
The sound of a drill can be mildly annoying to some and downright jarring for others. For patients with dental anxiety, even the sound of a drill in a neighboring exam room can put them on edge.
With air abrasion technology, the use of a drill can be negated if the cavity or tooth surface only requires moderate decay removal. You can think of this special tool almost like a tiny sandblaster that uses forced air to carefully remove decay.
In the case of very small cavities, Dr. Sexton may even be able to skip the anesthetic because the air abrasion tool is minimally invasive and gentle.
6. Lava COS digital scans give your dentist a 3D model of your teeth without you having to endure messy pastes and molds.
The Lava Chairside Oral Scanner (COS) is another form of digital imaging, but it really deserves a category of its own. The Lava COS gives Dr. Sexton a way to capture highly detailed, 3D digital models of your teeth without needing to use traditional molding methods. Traditional molding often requires uncomfortable foams or messy pastes that make for a not very pleasant experience for the patient.
With the Lava COS system, Dr. Sexton will scan your teeth with a wand and the computer technology takes care of the rest. From there you’ll both be able to see a real 3D digital model of your teeth that will aid in a number of cosmetic and restorative procedures.
7. The VELscope oral cancer screening system allows for early detection when oral cancer is in its most treatable stage.
Oral cancer is especially dangerous as symptoms often go unnoticed by patients until the cancer is already well developed. Oral cancer is also more difficult to treat compared to some other forms of cancer. The combination of late diagnosis and complicated treatment means early detection of oral cancer is crucial, especially in older patients with a history of tobacco use.
Dr. Sexton not only does a thorough visual exam of all patients for signs of oral cancer, but he also uses a special tool called a VELscope. The VELscope uses a special blue light to detect early signs of cancer and oral tissue abnormalities. It only takes a few minutes to complete and all you have to do is lay back and relax with your mouth open.
8. Onset-buffered anesthetics and OraVerse make the numbing process more pleasant with quicker recovery.
Getting numb is something most patients are very familiar with, but that doesn’t mean it’s a very pleasant process. Patients with dental-anxiety may feel particularly sensitive during this part of their dental treatment. In order to help patients feel as comfortable as possible, Dr. Sexton uses two forms of anesthetic technology.
First is the onset-buffered anesthetic, which is a tool that helps eliminate the sting or burning sensation during the injection. This tool raises the pH of the anesthetic, which reduces discomfort while also speeding up its effect.
After treatment, Dr. Sexton will then use OraVase, a product that reverses the effects of the anesthetic. This means you can return to feeling normal twice as fast.
Experience these dental technology advantages firsthand by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Sexton.
To schedule your appointment, you can either call our office or fill out this online form. We look forward to showing you how our favorite high-tech dental tools make your visits more relaxing and comfortable.