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.
ADDITIONAL READING |Using your dental hygienist for laser periodontal care
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.
ADDITIONAL READING |Integrating technology into your dental practice
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!”