About Our Advanced Dental Technology

Is having the latest and greatest technology really that important? We believe this must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We use a simple formula, asking the question, “Does it allow us to provide better care for the patient?” If the answer is a resounding “yes,” we invest in it. The following bullet points provide you with information about some of the dental technologies in our office. We believe these technologies allow us to provide you with the best dental care and the best system of communication for our staff.

  • Digital radiography 2D refers to the normal “bite wing” X-Rays taken on routine visits to the dentist’s office. This is the best tool to detect cavities between teeth. By using digital X-Rays instead of the old film X-Rays, we drastically reduce radiation exposure such that lead aprons are no longer required. However, to promote optimal safety, we still use them.
  • Digital radiography 3D replaces old “panoramic” X-Rays, taken to identify cysts, tumors and unerupted teeth such as wisdom teeth. In addition to providing a more detailed view of those things, 3D X-Rays reveal infections and other issues not visible in 2D. Therefore, there is better diagnosis capability. In addition, these X-Rays can help to surgically guide and plan implant placement.
  • Nomad – This is a portable low-dose radiation exposure device.
Dental assistant, Ellen, using the portable Nomad X-Ray device
Dental assistant, Ellen, using the portable Nomad X-Ray device
  • 3D virtual software provides implant surgery evaluation, as well as planning and surgical guide fabrication.
  • Centrifuge – This device, used after surgery, creates a super “Band-Aid” from the patient’s own body.
  • Diode lasers – These tools aid in minor surgeries to bypass bleeding or sutures. In addition, they can help with gum re-contouring (making the gums more attractive).
  • Diagnodent – This cavity-detecting laser helps validate suspected cavities or find clinically undetectable ones.
Dr. Heck using an intra-oral camera inside a patients’ mouth
Dr. Heck using an intra-oral camera inside a patients’ mouth
  • Intra-oral camera – A small high tech camera, we use this inside the mouth to educate and document all treatments. Some patients do not want to see what we do in their mouth and we respect this. However, many want to know what was going on and why the procedure needed to be done. This is our favorite part. It is a delight to enlighten our patients and show them treatments we perform. Patients can see the before, during and after photographs of their treatment. We will share as much information as you want to know.
  • Heart rate and oxygen monitors, blood pressure cuffs – These vital instruments are used for sedation as well as to evaluate if you are healthy enough to undergo dental treatment.

Dental X-Rays

In addition to our 3D imaging technology, we also provide dental X-Ray technology to our patients. Dental X-Rays are a helpful tool in diagnosing damage and disease that isn’t clear in a routine dental exam. X-Rays provide us with detailed views of your tooth that can reveal cavities and the overall health of the tooth and bone. Our dentists recommend routine X-Rays be taken annually. This allows us to detect problems early on before they become more serious. Depending on your oral health history, we may take additional dental X-Rays on an as-needed basis. The frequency of X-Rays is based on a number of factors including age, health history, disease risk as well as signs or symptoms of oral disease.

What X-Rays Detect

  • Bitewing X-Rays are used to detect decay between teeth and can also serve to detect gum disease by monitoring changes in bone density.
  • Periapical X-Rays show entire teeth from the crown to below the root. These X-Rays are used to detect problems with a tooth’s root structure or problems with the surrounding bone structure.
  • Panoramic X-Rays show the roots of the teeth, the mouth and jaw, as well as nose and sinuses. These X-Rays can display bone fractures and abnormalities as well as impacted teeth, tumors and infections.
  • Cone Beam Computer Tomography X-Rays show all of the hard tissues in the mouth 3-dimensionally. These X-Rays help us evaluate sinuses, cysts, tumors and airways, as well as all the anatomic parts in 3D format.
Cone Beam Computer Tomography X-Rays
Sierra taking cone beam X-Rays for a dental patient

What to Expect When You Get X-Rays

While dental X-Rays are safe, they do require a low level of radiation exposure. We take the necessary precautions to ensure that the radiation levels you are exposed to are as low as possible. We will ensure that your body receives the minimal amount of exposure by covering you in a lead apron.

Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or breast feeding, please tell us prior to being X-Rayed. If X-Rays are necessary, the technician will take all proper precautions to avoid exposure to you or your child.

Gag Reflex

If you have a sensitive gag reflex, be sure to tell us ahead of time so we can ensure your maximum comfort.

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