Diagnostic and Equipment

Panorex

Periodic oral exams here at Stowe Family Dentistry employ the use of radiographs (X-rays), to help visualize your teeth and bones in ways not possible via the naked eye. Digital X-rays, which deliver even less radiation than traditional film-based X-rays, have quickly become very common in dental offices. A panorex is a single two-dimensional X-ray that is taken of the upper and lower jaw area (or even parts of the skull and neck). The service is recommended every three to five years to assess your broad dental health, or to plan for implants, orthodontic work and the removal of wisdom teeth.

Cone Beam or CT Scan

A dental cone beam (CB) CT scanner uses x-rays and computer software to produce 3D cross-sectional images of the jaws and teeth. It is a smaller, faster and safer version of the regular CT scanner. Through the use of a cone shaped x-ray beam, the radiation dosage is lower, and the time needed for scanning is reduced. The scan will give us detailed information which cannot be obtained from normal x-ray examinations. For example, if you are being considered for dental implants or other special procedures, it enables us to assess the exact shape of the bone. With this information we are better able to fit our patients with the best sized implant for their bone measurements.

Digital X-Rays

The physical process for digital radiography is actually similar to traditional dental X-rays that use film: With digital radiography, a sensor is used instead of photo film. The sensor is placed into your mouth to capture images of your teeth. Although it resembles the film used for bitewings and other X-rays, the digital sensor is electronic and connected to a computer. Once the X-ray is taken, the image is projected on a computer screen for viewing. Digital X-rays use up to 90 percent less radiation than standard film X-rays. The small size of traditional X-rays can make viewing difficult, but digital radiography once on the screen, can be enlarged or magnified for a better visual of the tooth’s structure. Brightness, contrast and color can also be adjusted, allowing your dentist to see small cavities easier. If you need a hard copy of your X-ray, digital images can easily be printed out or emailed to other medical offices that may need access to them. Digital dental X-rays are also better for the environment! With digital radiography, no chemicals are used to develop film, and no lead foil waste is created.

Cerac Unit

The Cerac Unit is an amazing piece of dental equipment that has advanced the way we create custom crowns in dentistry. The standard way to make a crown was to prepare the tooth and then take an impression. Several visits were needed from the start to finish the procedure, and impressions also needed to be sent out to an outside lab for creation of the crown. CEREC is a method used by dentists to restore any tooth that is decayed, weakened, broken, etc. to its natural strength and beauty. It’s made with all-ceramic materials that are tooth colored, in a single appointment. This is done in a few steps. First, we use an Omnicam camera in the mouth to scan the area where restoration is needed. The camera scans the dimensions of the tooth and records this in the computer. Then the crown is designed on a computer program. The program is sent to a grinding and milling unit to produce a crown that is an exact fit to the prepared site. Lastly the new crown is colored and glaze by hand to match your existing dentition. In just a few hours we are able to create a new permanent crown that not only fits perfectly, but blends in with your natural smile.

Intra-Oral Cameras

In a nutshell, an intraoral camera is a small video camera that can capture pictures inside of the mouth showing the tooth and the gum tissue. While simultaneously viewing a monitor with the patient, the dentist inserts the camera into a patient’s mouth and gently shifts it about so that images can be taken from a variety of angles. Since the intraoral camera is used in tandem with a computer screen or television monitor, your dentist can easily show you, in real-time, if you have a fractured tooth, cavities, malformations, gum disease problems, and other conditions in the mouth. In addition to being a great diagnostic tool, the intraoral camera is a fantastic educational aid. Instead of merely explaining to you what’s happening inside your mouth, we can actually show you.

Lasers

Lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light. When used for surgical and dental procedures, the laser is used to sanitize or vaporize the tissues it comes in contact with depending upon the setting chosen by the dentist. Because of its precision it causes little to no inflammation and essentially no bleeding during procedures. Dental lasers can be used for many different procedures. For example; reducing discomfort, and shorten the duration of canker sores or cold sores. Also, exposing partially erupted wisdom teeth, removing muscle attachments that limit proper movement, removing overgrown gum tissue, performing biopsy procedures, removing inflamed gum tissue without causing bleeding, and aid in reshaping the gum tissue during a crown lengthening procedure.

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