Does Technology at the Dental Office Really Matter?

Julie Lewellyn, Registered Dental Hygienist | ROC Dental Group

Having worked as a dental hygienist for 30 years, 20 here in the Lowcountry, I have certainly seen technology advance over time in the dental field. But does it really make a difference in your care? The answer is a whole-hearted “yes”! It allows the dentist and hygienist to provide the most accurate diagnosis and the best, most efficient treatment possible to meet each patient’s individual needs.

My favorite piece of technology was first introduced to dentistry in the early 2000’s. Three-dimensional cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging shows all of the mouth’s supporting structures – bones, nerves, and soft tissue – not just the teeth, in high detail. It is non-invasive, painless, and incredibly accurate. It provides a very low dose of radiation while capturing a complete and accurate image of the entire jaw. This allows for greater diagnostics, creation of the most effective treatment plan, and increased patient trust.

Dental issues and concerns are not always painful or symptomatic. Using this type of technology during examinations is very important in providing a thorough and complete evaluation. The dentist also uses it during treatments like implant placement for a drastic increase in accuracy and time efficiency. Dental imaging has come a long way since 2D X-rays were used early in my career.

The intra-oral camera is my other favorite tool because, while simple, it allows a patient to see what the dentist, hygienist or dental assistant sees in the mouth. For example, if a tooth has a large visible crack, but the patient has no bothersome symptoms, they will know to be aware of the issue or understand why treatment is needed. When the patient can view an image that would otherwise only be visible to the clinician, it helps us to communicate with them while giving them the confidence and trust in our diagnosis and treatment.

Your dental professionals don’t employ the most up-to-date technology to increase revenue. Rather, it allows them to provide the most accurate diagnosis so that they can provide the best care possible in a timely manner. Every patient presents with different concerns, medical conditions and needs; therefore, a complete picture is needed to best evaluate and treat any issues. And the latest advances in dental technology assure that this can be done effectively and efficiently while keeping the patient involved during the process.