We live in a world where technology advances practically by the second. Many of us remember when a cell phone was just a phone, and all you could do with it was make calls – you certainly were not taking pictures or surfing the internet with it. And once upon a time, if you wanted to watch a movie outside the theater, you had to buy or rent a DVD – now, we just cue up Netflix.
In the field of dentistry, technology also advances quickly. At Dental Arts and Wellness in Lake Oswego, we are always adding new technology in order to better serve our patients. Keep reading to learn more about today’s dental technology.
Intraoral (Microscope) Cameras
To get a fully accurate picture of what is going on in your mouth, we use intraoral cameras, also known as microscope cameras. The camera is very small, so when Dr. Yamaguchi places it in your mouth, you will not experience discomfort. The intraoral camera provides a 3D image of your mouth, which is then sent to a computer. Using special software, Dr. Yamaguchi can then see your mouth from every possible angle, and can magnify the images as well. This means that she can identify decay and structural irregularities very early on.
The use of intraoral cameras has led to a better standard of care in dentistry, since problems can be seen and evaluated before they become more problematic. Also, if your insurance company wants proof as to what treatments are needed, Dr. Yamaguchi can send the images to them as an email attachment.
Not all that long ago, having dental x-rays taken meant that you had to contend with having an uncomfortable metal plate inserted into your mouth and wearing a lead apron. Then the dentist or assistant would wander off into another room to take the x-ray while you waited with your mouth pried open and under instructions not to move a muscle.
Thanks to recent developments in dental technology, this is relegated to the past. We now use digital panoramic x-ray equipment. It is far less invasive than the old metal plates, and therefore considerably more comfortable for the patient, as well as delivering less radiation. As well, the need for chemical baths to process the x-rays has been eliminated, so digital x-rays are much more environmentally friendly. It is very rare for the dentist to need to take more than one x-ray to get the image needed, so you no longer have to wait while x-rays are re-taken and re-processed.
CEREC Crown Machine
Less time spent in the dentist chair is always a good thing. You have better things to do with your time, and also less chair time means lower costs. Under the old dental technology, having dental crowns made could require several visits, and it could be weeks before you finally had your crowns installed.
With the CEREC crown machine, you can actually have your crowns installed in just one visit to Dr. Yamaguchi. The CEREC computer is used to get digital images of the areas that need to be treated (no more biting into goop-filled trays). Then, Dr. Yamaguchi will select a piece of porcelain that is colored to match the rest of your teeth. The porcelain is then sent to the CEREC milling machine, which makes your crown. As soon as it is finished (usually in about a minute), Dr. Yamaguchi will cement it in place, and you will leave our dentist office with your bite and your smile fully restored.
Soft Tissue Laser
At Dental Arts and Wellness, we care about your comfort just as much as we do your oral health. This is why we use a CO2 soft tissue laser for several treatments. With soft tissue laser treatment, Dr. Yamaguchi can locate decay quickly and easily, and treat it before it advances so that there is no chance of adjacent teeth being affected.
Soft laser treatment is also used for periodontic issues, and even gingivectomy treatments. The laser seeks out and destroys harmful bacteria at and under the gum line, so root planing and scaling may not be needed. Even if those treatments should be required, they will comprise less of the treatment process than they did in the past, and you will experience a far shorter recovery time.
Oral ID Oral Cancer Screening
Every year, thousands of cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States. In fact, oral cancer is even more common than melanoma. The good news is that oral cancer is very treatable when caught in its early stages, and easy for your dentist to identify.
When you visit Dr. Yamaguchi for your six-month checkup, she will also examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer – red, grey or white areas, tenderness, lumps, etc. The oral cancer screening only takes about five minutes, and when done by a dentist with small hands like Dr. Yamaguchi, is not at all uncomfortable.
In addition to a visual examination, Dr. Yamaguchi also uses the Oral ID cancer screening light. This is an instrument that causes any precancerous or cancerous lesions to show up more clearly. This is an exciting advance in dental technology, because it means that your oral cancer screening is no longer dependent solely on your dentist’s eyesight.
Ultrasonic Dental Cleaning
It is amazing how many people dread dental cleanings. Older people especially may be resistant to having their teeth professionally cleaned because they are used to the old methods that required a dental hygienist to scrape away at their teeth and dig under their gums using a sharp instrument. The trouble is that if you do not have regular professional cleanings, you are setting the stage for dental problems that could require significant restorative treatments down the road. This is because no matter how careful you are about your oral hygiene, you will never be able to rid your mouth of tartar and plaque simply by brushing and flossing.
Fortunately, modern dental technology has taken a lot of the discomfort out of professional cleanings. Most of the cleaning can be taken care of by using an ultrasound machine, which delivers super-fast pulsations into your mouth to blast away harmful deposits. There may still need to be some manual scaling, depending on how long it has been since your last cleaning, but nowhere near as much as you would have experienced years ago.
CT Cone Beam
There are so many new ways for dentists to see what is happening in your mouth. In addition to microscope cameras and digital panoramic x-rays, Dr. Yamaguchi also uses CT cone beam scans. The CT cone beam is somewhat similar to a CT scan that you might undergo during a hospital visit, but it does not involve your needing to be placed inside a machine – it is carried out in the dentist chair.
The CT cone beam is entirely safe because the radiation levels are so low. Dr. Yamaguchi can get a complete 3D image of your teeth and jaw, which she can then magnify to identify areas that need to be treated. The CT cone beam is particularly useful when it comes to determining the proper placement for dental implants. This is yet another way that dentists today are able to identify issues sooner, treat them, and minimize the possibility of the patient needing more costly treatments later on.
Contact Our Lake Oswego Dentist for State of the Art Dental Technology
At Dental Arts and Wellness, Dr. Yamaguchi is always current with developments in dental technology. Our dentist office is located at 15074 Bangy Lake Road, Lake Oswego, OR 97035. You can book a consultation by phone – just call us at 503.603.0700 You can also request a consultation by using the form on our Contact Us page. We look forward to serving you.
Read What Our Patients Say About Us
Dr. Yamaguchi and her team are great! They are very professional at their work and they care about my dental needs, my financial option as well. I had good visiting experience there.
#1 Dentist and Dental Team Ever! They treat you like family while providing top quality dental care. Because of this we always look forward to our visits to the dentist hands down. I highly recommend Dr. Yamaguchi and her team.
Excellent! Front desk always friendly and helpful. Vivian did an excellent job. Not easy to fill in for a regular. She could easily become a regular member of the staff.
"I have a number of systemic health issues that I am trying to better understand and Dr. Yamaguchi made me feel heard. She was very careful to consider my overall health vs. just my dental health. Great 1st visit and I'll be back."