Wednesday, December 24, 2014

High Speed Dentistry

We get calls almost daily from people that have been to the dentist and felt they were overcharged because their procedure “didn’t take long enough”.

Those of us that have been around for awhile can remember when a simple cleaning took 45 minutes to an hour and if you needed a root canal… well that could be an all-day adventure.

Welcome to the 21st century and the world of high speed dentistry!

Here is a quick look at some of the advances in dentistry that have made a visit to the dentist less frightening and less traumatic.  A lot of these advances allow the general dentist to perform procedures that, in the past, would have been referred to a specialist.

Anesthetics – The process of getting numb has greatly improved.  With the advent of strong topical anesthetics and stronger injectable types, getting numb can really be a fairly painless process.  I have found that the simple trick of freezing the roof of the mouth makes that shot at least bearable.

Cleanings – In most cases, the process of scraping, picking and digging at your teeth is gone.  The new high speed cleaning machines are almost like a car wash for your mouth.  The use of ultra sound and water gives the hygienist the ability to cut through the plaque in a fraction of the time it used to take.  With the new laser systems that are available, periodontal scaling and root planing are less invasive and much faster.  Over the past 20 years, the average time for a regular cleaning has dropped from 45 minutes to somewhere around 15 to 20 minutes.

Root Canals – Still a word that no one wants to hear!  With the new high speed endo systems it’s really not a big thing anymore.  Gone are the days of drilling, x-ray, filing, x-ray, more filing, more x-rays and so on.  Now it’s kind of like drilling for oil in your tooth.  Once the dentist locates the canal, the system has a tracking device that can allow him to virtually see how deep he is filing, right down to the apex of the canal.  This is a great advancement that has also allowed general dentists to perform root canals that in the past years would have been referred to a specialist.

Crowns and Bridges – For the dental offices that make the investment, you no longer have to wait days or weeks to get your crown or bridge back from the lab.  A new process called Cerec allows the dentist to make the crown or bridge right in their office with a wait time for the patient of an hour or two.  Along with all of these advancements comes a huge capital outlay for the dental office.  The Cerec system alone has an initial investment of almost $100,000.00. 

So my friends, when you go to the dentist and you’re out quickly just remember that we are in the 21st century now.  Technology has touched every part of our lives.  Dentistry is much faster and far less frightening.  Technology now allows you to visit the dentist, get in, get out and get on with your day.  It does however, come with a price and the cost of time has basically been replaced with the cost of the new equipment.  In the long run the patient is still the winner.  You are not paying any more than you have in the past (inflation taken into account) but you are getting higher quality dentistry at a much quicker pace.

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