Dr. Lee and our team at Advanced Dental Arts NW stay updated with dentistry’s most innovative technology so that we can diagnose and treat oral problems faster, with more accuracy, and with much less discomfort than ever before. Every piece of equipment, instrument, and technique has been carefully chosen to give you better results and put a smile on your face when you leave our dental office. Read on to learn a little more about our advanced dental technology in Portland.
People really appreciate understanding their own bodies, and, as they say, one picture says a thousand words. So, we take tons of photos, and thus are able to let the patient see what we see, and appreciate better the high level of our care.
We also use photography to document the conditions of the teeth before, during, and after treatment, so that we can provide your dental insurance carrier with absolute documentation of what dental services we performed, and why. This, in turn, enables us to gain every insurance benefit to which you are entitled, and in a timely and complete manner.
Did you know that Dr. Lee can help with more than just your teeth? Your gums and other soft tissues play a critical role in supporting your teeth, and he can offer specialized treatment to make sure these tissues in your smile stay strong and healthy. For instance, if you have gum disease, he can use our soft tissue laser to get rid of the infected tissue and kill the harmful bacteria—all with little to no discomfort. And, with our WaterLase laser, he can avoid using scalpels or other more invasive surgical instruments while resolving issues pertaining to the gums for a better experience.
Additionally, the Waterlase MD gives us a way to contour gum tissue, so that the front teeth appear longer, and more esthetic. And to uncover dental implants, and to assure that your crowns and bridges fit comfortably and completely every time.
Every dental office should have one of these, but only a small number actually do.
Nearly twenty years ago (a decade before it was required), we converted our dental office to paperless patient records, not only to reduce clutter and the possibility of misplacing information but also to safeguard patient information and data as well as increase the ease of access. Your patient chart includes highly privileged personal information, including your medical and dental records, insurance and financial data, photographs, X-rays, and basically everything relating to your dental care.
We take many precautions to ensure that only authorized personnel can access this information while also making it easily accessible to you should you desire it for any reason.
At Advanced Dental Arts NW, 100% of our radiographs (x-rays), like our photographs, are digital, which means that each one can provide far more information than was possible with standard film. And there are zero errors in developing and process, because, of course, there is no development process involved. AND, the same thing goes for the pollution formerly caused by the processing chemical; no chemicals, no potential for pollution.
Digital dental x-rays not only provide far more information, but the use of, and exposure to, radiation is dramatically reduced. Now, a full-mouth series of eighteen digital views require only a very small percentage of what used to be necessary for just four individual films. And yes, of course, we still use the lead apron with thyroid protection. Because even though the levels of radiation drop tremendously, any is more than the ideal, and we do whatever we can do to absolutely protect from any possible harm.
We take digital radiographs because it provides information that we cannot detect or properly evaluate during a normal visual clinical examination, including decay between the teeth, bone level and contours, cysts and abscesses deep within the bone, missing or extra teeth, impacted teeth, and bone support for the teeth. We also take a radiograph following bonding or cementation of all restorations to verify the excellence of the fit.
Additionally, we take digital photographs routinely as part of our exams and prior to all work. These photographs enable us to objectively evaluate things like jaw asymmetry and subtle alignment problems with teeth. Plus, they allow you to see what we see to better appreciate what we are doing and why. It also provides additional documentation which we will submit on your behalf to your insurance carrier.
And, as mentioned, all of this information is immediately entered into your chart so that we can access those radiographs and pictures instantly from anywhere in the dental office.
No one loves the goo that is placed around teeth for dental impressions, nor the gagging or the fingers holding a tray motionless for five minutes in your mouth. Most of us have been there and done that and have thought, “There HAS to be a better way!”
Well, turns out, there is! iTero is a digital dental camera that lets us take a series of high-resolution photos of your teeth. Then, using thousands of images, it creates an extremely precise three-dimensional model of the teeth and the mouth. We then send this information to our lab, which uses a 3D printer, and they mill an actual model and fabricate your restoration on it.
We use our iTero scanner for all of our crowns, bridges, and implant restorations as well as our orthodontic treatments using Invisalign. And, iTero generates no materials that will fill our landfills for tens of thousands of years. So, not only will you get a better-fitting dental restoration with less hassle and gagging, but your progeny will have reason thank you for a hundred or more generations to come as well!
Because it is digitally created and sent, there is zero distortion, so the crowns, bridges, and restorations we receive are incredibly well-fitting. And, because we analyze the scans before they are sent, there is never a second appointment needed to retake the impression.
Cancers are always best treated at the earliest possible stage because the solutions are more effective, less traumatic, faster, and the results are universally more positive. But the problem is that many cancers can only be diagnosed once they have attained a certain size, which is far later than ideal.
Enter the VELscope, a whole new type of oral cancer detection.
VELscope uses a beam of light to illuminate areas deep within the soft tissues of the mouth, showing any abnormalities. And while these abnormalities can be things like a pizza burn or a poke from a toothbrush or spoon, they can also be an early stage of cancer. If a lesion is still there a couple of weeks later, we will refer you to an appropriate dental office to get a diagnosis.
The process with the VELscope is no more traumatic than shining a flashlight into your mouth; there is no radiation, no pain, no vibration, and no heat. It can tell us more than any other test and at a far earlier stage than ever before.
While most of what we do here at Advanced Dental Arts NW is truly life-changing, the VELscope can be truly life-saving.
When all you have is a hammer, they say everything looks like a nail. So, when all you have is a drill, many dentists wind up using it too often and removing more enamel than necessary to fix a problem. That’s why we like to use air abrasion whenever we can.
Air abrasion essential involves using a “mini-sandblaster” to selectively remove the softer (i.e., decayed) tooth structure while leaving a surface that is clean and ideal for bonding to a restoration.
The BIG benefits it has over drilling are:
Because there is no way to direct or limit the abrasive “sand,” we cannot use this approach for larger restorations or those that require extremely smooth edges. However, it is ideal for areas that would normally be restored using composites, such as small fractures around the base of the teeth as they emerge from the gums.
Basically, it comes down to the three reasons why everyone doesn’t have everything: knowledge, time, and money.
“You don’t even know what you don’t even know,” and if you have not taken the time to learn what is possible, you can never grow or develop. As a dentist, you have to investigate and do research, and if you see potential in a new technology or technique, you have to take a leap of faith. More often than not, it exceeds your expectations.
And, you have to dedicate the time to learn how to use the information you get. You have to go to seminars and lots and lots of advanced education courses. You also have to have your staff similarly educated so the entire team can work efficiently and effectively. If you are unwilling to become an expert, you are wasting your time and energies.
And, of course, this dental technology is not cheap. But, if it enables you to do better work more efficiently and effectively than before, and you get predictably better results for your patients, then it is an excellent investment.
Here, we know that you have to believe in progress, educate yourself, and work to apply that knowledge.
With an X-ray, our dental team can get a closer look at a small number of teeth, but with our CBCT scanner, we can see everything in a single image. Capturing multiple X-rays from several angles, it’s able to piece them together to construct a highly-detailed, three-dimensional map that includes all of your teeth, both jaws, and nearby oral structures. It can help us better find and diagnose a myriad of dental problems. Plus, it allows Dr. Lee to plan complex procedures like dental implant placement with the most precision possible.