Rene Magritte, the Belgian Surrealist, painted a series of pipes and entitled the series Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe). In our search for excellence in dentistry, what appears to be a dental office is no longer what it once was. Yes, it is a dental office, but it has also changed dramatically. As my staff and I pursue the latest in technologies, techniques, practice management software, equipment such as dental lasers, we say to ourselves that this is not a dental office. Every room has a computer, as essential as any other piece of dental equipment that we have. Did you ever think that your dentist would need a computer to see your xray of a tooth?
Traditionally, when a new patient came into a dental office he/she would have the necessary records taken. The charting would remain static. Treatment notes would be rendered over time, but the original charting remained the same. Today, we chart on a computer. A dynamic display appears. So, from the moment a patient comes into the office they are charted onto the computer software and any changes in the future are graphically displayed for both the patient and staff to see. This may not sound revolutionary, but it is. A living chart gives us more accurate information of where the patient is right now. We can watch a gum problem progress until a decision is made to effectively take care of the problem. The software can alert us that a periodontal pocket is getting deeper over a two year period and a decision needs to be made with regard to treatment. Clearly, a living chart is far more desirable than a chart that is many years old that has not changed.
The world of cosmetic dentistry is changing; Ceci n’est pas une pipe
Dental Lasers. Diode. Erbium/Yag. There are times that we do not touch the tooth with a drill. One of our lasers has the ability to cut a tooth. And the laser does not touch the tooth! It is not like the drill. It removes tooth structure (i.e. enamel, dentin, decay) without touching the tooth itself. It does this via amplified light energy. Star Wars in the Battle of the Decay!!! We do this every single day. Revolutionary.
Invisalign. Moving teeth with clear aligners. Patients get so use to the aligners, they feel something is wrong when they are not in place. I did my own Invisalign and corrected an edge-to-edge occlusion in three months. Revolutionary.
Sesame Communications. This is a company that can email or text our patients regarding upcoming appointments. This is a seamless operation that we are barely aware of. Our patients have received this service warmly. They are not only sent reminders – they are asked to fill out occasional surveys on how we are doing. We love this and it is… Revolutionary
What is the next big thing? I have been looking at the ability to send my laboratory impressions electronically. It would mean no gooey globs of goodness going down your throat when a restoration needs to be laboratory fabricated. Yes….Revolutionary.
Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
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