3 tech tools that make the dentist and patient experience better

There have been a great many changes in dentistry over the last 35 years. Dr. Mark Mizner talks about three tech tools that not only represent significant time-savings and increase his productivity, but — in each case — change his patients’ experiences for the better.

Mizner Techtools
There have been a great many changes in dentistry since my graduation from dental school in 1980. In fact, it’s safe to say that there aren’t many materials or techniques that I learned back in the dark ages that are still used today. Bonding, for instance, was in its infancy; new ceramic materials such as e.max and others have virtually replaced gold and PFG restorations as the material of choice. Many of these advancements have been monumental; in fact, game changers when I consider how they have changed the way we practice. When it comes to technology, the three biggest game changers in my own practice are lasers, CAD/CAM, and my intraoral camera.

1. Solea, a hard- and soft-tissue laser made by Convergent Dental. It allows me to do at least 95% of my simple restorative procedures without local anesthesia. This means multiple teeth in different quadrants in a single visit, thereby saving time for me and saving the need for additional visits for my patient. When a patient can leave the office after having a tooth filled, and he or she doesn’t need a shot, and it didn’t hurt … you have created a missionary for your practice whose value is incalculable.

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2. CEREC, a CAD/CAM system by Sirona. There are other good systems out there, but I invested in this one early and stuck with it. In the simplest example, prior to using the CAD/CAM system, patients having a crown done would have to suffer through disgusting impressions, be careful not to lose the temporary restoration for several weeks while the permanent one was being fabricated, and then schedule a second visit for delivery. With CAD/CAM, all of that has been eliminated and patients can now leave after one visit, ready to forget they were even there. That’s just the tip of the iceberg as the application of digital dentistry keeps growing every day.

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3. Intraoral camera. This is certainly not a new technology but one I can’t imagine practicing without. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It also saves a thousand hours. As just one example, when you show a patient a picture of his or her broken tooth with the leaky old alloy in it that is ready to fall out, you don’t need to be a dentist to realize that the tooth needs a crown. End of discussion; now get to work.

These are only a few of the recent advancements in dentistry, but in my practice, they represent the biggest “wow” factors I’ve seen. These tools not only represent significant time-savings and increase my productivity, but — in each case —change the patients’ experiences for the better. I believe these technologies allow me to practice better, more conservative dentistry so the patient can get up out of the chair and literally say “WOW!”

Mark Mizner, DMD, is a 1980 graduate of Tufts School of Dental Medicine. In his 30-plus years of practice, he has developed a reputation for putting his patients at ease while delivering high-quality cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Dr. Mizner is an active member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Association, Academy of Dental Science, and several other professional organizations and honor societies. He has been involved with the Yankee Dental Congress since 1985 and has served as chairman of numerous committees, including the prestigious Scientific and Allied Scientific Committees. In 2005, Dr. Mizner was honored with the Massachusetts Dental Society’s Volunteer Hero Award.

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