As dental technology advances, so does Winchester Dental’s ability to provide you the most current treatments and therapies. We’re committed to regularly investing in and training our team members to use the newest dental technology, so that we can provide you precision care at the highest levels of comfort—and of course, save you time and money! In this article, Kelly Richardson, DDS talks about some of the newest additions to Winchester Dental’s in-house technology.
How a 3D printer offers improved comfort and convenience for dental patients
Dr. Richardson, tell us about the 3D printer. What is it used for?
Our 3D printer gives us the ability to make custom night guards, dentures, and—on occasion—partial dentures.
How does this printer improve patients’ comfort?
This is great news for your comfort: No more goopy alginate impressions! It’s also helpful to our team, as it allows us to save digital files. If something happens to your dentures, for example, we already have your file and won’t need to start from scratch to make you a new device. In the future, we look forward to using this technology for addressing more of your dental needs as the technology continues to expand.
How long does the printing take?
Printing times depend on what we make. In addition to the time it takes to design a night guard, it can take 90-120 minutes to print a night guard, for example. Curing the device after printing takes another 15 minutes.
How digital scanners provide comfort for patients as well as precision in treatment planning
Tell us about the Trios and iTero digital scanners. What are they used for?
We use both of these scanners for many things. They function almost as high-definition (HD) intraoral cameras that take thousands of HD images per second (though the result is not a video, but a lot of HD images).
- For Invisalign treatment: For Invisalign patients, we specifically use the iTero scanner to quickly and painlessly scan the mouth, and send the scans to Invisalign so they can make custom trays as precisely as possible.
- For night guards: Both scanners help us when we make night guards.
- As an adjunct to X-rays: We use the iTero scanner to help us detect cavities at visits where we’re not taking X-rays. The scanner is also useful for those who are pregnant and may not want X-rays, and for patients who have orthodontic metal brackets (which can sometimes make it more challenging to detect cavities or similar issues). The scanner does not replace X-rays, but is quite helpful as an additional tool.
- For restorative and implant planning: The Trios scanner is especially useful in allowing us to measure precisely for implants and restorative work. If we’re working with an outside lab to make crowns, we’ll send the scans to the lab, which will make the crowns based on our scans.
Can patients see the results of their scans?
Yes, you can see your scans during your visit, on the video screen in the operatory (treatment area)—and of course we’re always glad to explain what you’re seeing, and to answer any questions you might have. This kind of information is an important part of your comfort.
Do these scanners replace any older equipment?
The scans also replace alginate impressions. This is SO much more comfortable for our patients, and a great timesaver for our team!
Anything else patients should know?
We also use the scanners to monitor tooth wear and recession. We can see if your teeth have moved, or if tooth recession has gotten worse, to a distance of within one-tenth of a millimeter.
Why laser technology is important for dental patients’ comfort
What kind of laser is the LightWalker® and what is it used for?
Our Fotona Lightwalker laser is extremely useful for many types of treatments and therapies, and in so many cases, the laser is key to increasing patients’ physical comfort. We use it to help us provide fillings, soft tissue treatment, NightLase treatment for sleep apnea, relief of TMJ pain, biopsies, uncovering implants, work involving soft tissues. The laser has two different wavelengths that make it a great choice for many applications.
Do you use it for patients of all ages?
Yes, it’s safe and effective for patients of all ages.
Does this laser replace any older technology?
The Lightwalker has the same capability as our cold laser, but can do so much more. We use the cold laser specifically for relief of TMJ pain, which is now called photobiomodulation (and used to be called low-level light therapy).