By: Dr. Scott R. Harden
Just last month, at Dobbin’s Air Force Base, I had the privilege and honor to relive a great moment in our United Stated history, which commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, a truly heroic conquest for many millions of people in need of “hope” and food to survive Soviet domination. This event, well timed for Memorial Day, also permitted me to reconnect with an old acquaintance, Mr. Pat Epps of Epps aviation. Mr. Epps is an icon in Georgia and his father further made Georgia aviation history by having built and flown the first airplane in Georgia, only 4 years after the Wright Brother’s amazing solo flight at Kitty Hawk. While standing on the airfield at Dobbin’s Air Force Base, recounting such great history and the technology of that time as compared to today’s USAF F-22 Raptor stealth air superiority fighter, it was clear how far our technology has advanced.
Amazing breakthroughs have also followed in dental technology, which have kept my excitement and enthusiasm as a dentist at its peak for the last twenty-five years. I am thoroughly pleased with the wonderful opportunities the dental profession can offer our patients today.
The primary goal of dentistry today is to reverse the negative experiences carried forward from generations past. Thanks to modern dental technology, this is easily achieved in many areas:
- Smile enhancements
- Replacing missing teeth
- Treatment of Periodontal Disease
- Treatment of Dental Abscesses
Communication and Education occurs on many levels, Dental Office-Patient, Dentist/Staff-Patient and Dental Office-Dental Lab. Dental Office-Patient communication has improved tremendously from just a few years ago thanks to technology permitting our office to communicate via telephone, text, email and voicemail, more importantly reaching our patients while they are on the go anywhere, anytime. Dentist/Staff-Patient communication and education is greatly improved by intra-oral cameras allowing us to demonstrate cavities and fractures seen in your teeth directly to you at that instant on our computer monitors. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Similarly, new digital x-rays let you also see your teeth on the computer monitor the size of a baseball so the patient is clear on their diagnostic problems. Other diagnostic equipment permits open communication at a very comfortable level with all patients so they can be apart of the dental experience and clearly understand their dental needs, ultimately equating to patient satisfaction. Dental Office-Dental Lab communication has been greatly improved by the use of digital photographs that can now be emailed through the Internet and enhances detailed transfer of information (i.e. shape of teeth, smile, color, lip line, etc.) with tremendous accuracy, all that benefit the patient directly.
At the forefront of inspiring dental relationships is the trust developed from providing a patient with an award-winning smile yielding confidence and improving self worth. New technology utilizing tooth-whitening products, new porcelain technology that is stronger, natural looking, and securely bonded to your teeth permits artistry that adds a smile to the face of the patient and dental staff alike.
Implants have become a standard that has revolutionized dental care by replacing missing teeth in a way that does not require a plastic denture sitting on your skin. Implants stimulate and preserve the bone in the jaw so that the patient’s facial appearance and muscle tone also does not change. Implants replace missing teeth with 100% of the function and chewing capacity as compared to dentures that feign in comparison by only replacing 20% of the chewing capacity at best. Patients now have an unknown freedom they never new before and another great dental benefit awaiting them.
Periodontal Disease is now diagnosed and directly recorded into our computers by voice recognition software making the detailed analysis efficient, thorough and easier for the patient. The use of ultrasonic technology can vibrate the tartar off your teeth much easier and more gently and is coupled with safe localized placement of antibiotics at the source of infection so they can render the harmful bacteria harmless.
Dental Abscesses can be diagnosed with amazing new technology so the patient remains comfortable and calm during a difficult time. Patients really appreciate this. The ability to eliminate decay in the tooth and infection in the roots is easily accomplished with state-of-the-art procedures that make historically dreaded procedures painless and rewarding for the patient. The patient transitions from pain to comfort, benefiting from a positive experience through the entire process. This is dentistry at it’s finest.
Technology often equates to impersonal and uncaring interactions between people. Our technology in dentistry is a gift to patients that breaks down barriers and opens up long-lasting relationships. It is the key to unlock doors of anxiety and procrastination. Patients need to embrace dental care as a new experience that offers pain-free quality care like never before imagined. Visit your dentist soon!