What Technology Has Done To Improve Dental Work

The later 20th and into the 21st centuries have ushered in a whole host of new dental materials, modalities and procedures that have totally changed the way dentistry is done and the results that can be achieved.

Higher quality and longer lasting dental restorations are now the norm. Instead of taking weeks to complete some procedures, it is more common for them to de done in a single appointment.

X-Rays have gone from being film based to digital formats. They’ve gone from unchangeable 2-dimensional to fully manipulative and adjustable 3-dimensional images. They’re safer and require a lower exposure to radiation. 3-dimensional images allow the doctor to see and diagnose problems that were unseen in the past. It also allows us to plan and implement procedures such as the very precise placement of Dental Implants using guides that simplify the surgery, shorten the time required and save financially. Most importantly it allows us to do the procedure totally pain free, both during and after. Systems used by us are “Gendex” and “Sirona”.

Root canals can now be done in one visit using Nickle-Titanium rotary/reciprocating files and thermoplastic root fill techniques. Not that long ago to treat a molar tooth meant three lengthy visits. Dr. DeRice was the first dentist in Maine to be trained by Dr. John McSpadden, the inventor of this technique, which is now accepted worldwide. The systems used by Portland North Dental are “Wave 1” and “Gutta Core”.

Until recently, the crowning of a tooth was done by making a rubber like impression of a prepared tooth followed by constructing a plastic provisional tooth that was temporarily cemented on. Then the impression and other items were sent to a laboratory to manufacture a metal tooth, possibly with porcelain baked onto it to make it appear like a tooth. The patient then returned to have the crown cemented into place, hoping the color matched adequately (particularly for a front tooth). Now, using CAD CAM (computer aided design-computer aided milling) technology one or more crowns are completed in as little as an hour in one visit. The benefits of this technology are: a more accurate fit, no impressions, no temporaries and no color match inaccuracies. And no second visits! The System used by Portland North Dental is “Cerec”.

Until recently orthodontic treatment, even for the simplest cases involved the placement of bonded metal brackets and metal wires on the patient’s teeth. Now most cases are accomplished using computer generated clear plastic trays that are changed every two or three weeks to guide the teeth into new positions. Additionally, a computer generated set of images demonstrate the before and after look for preview by the patient as well as a time estimate for completion. The brand used by Portland North Dental is “ClearCorrect”.

Other technologies that play a significant role in our care are: Dental Implants; Diode soft tissue lasers; a cavity diagnosing “Diagnodent” laser to locate; an electronic root apex locator during root canals to save on X-rays; electric hand pieces allowing more efficient and accurate tooth preparations; LED high efficiency curing lights for fillings; and many other dental materials.

On the Administrative side, we use dental software that streamlines the process of appointments, accounting, patient correspondence, dental records, insurance submissions and all other tasks in the office. Our automated patient communication software sends reminder emails and texts to help facilitate scheduling. It is extremely efficient and convenient for both our staff and our patients. All this helps to keep our operating cost under control and our fees lower.