Time is of the essence for most dentists. When patients start to file in for a day’s worth of appointments, working quickly and efficiently isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. And for patients suffering from myriad
dental afflictions, each extra minute spent in a waiting room can be unbearable. Reading old issues of Sports Illustrated and Time can only soothe an aching tooth so much.
So, when technological advances can cut down on the time a
dentist spends laboring over procedures, while simultaneously cutting down on the time each patient misses from work and family life, everybody finds a reason to smile. In fact, some of the new advancements employed today are downright amazing.
Michael Vanover, DDS, started his practice in Orange Park in 2005 with the goal of providing “same-day dentistry,” as he calls it. When he discovered the E4D CAD CAM laser system, his goal became a reality. Vanover uses the E4D laser on a scanning wand to create a computerized 3D model of a patient’s mouth. From that model, a computer-generated crown is created on a milling machine that cuts a porcelain block to the patient’s exact specifications. The turnaround, from capturing the laser image to preparing the crown for insertion, is less than two hours.
“Since we have such complete control over the crown, the milling machine is very accurate,” says Vanover. “You don’t have a lot of adjusting involved. All of the images are there, and we can manipulate the design to make things fit. People love having the entire procedure done in one day.”
Lasers are a hot item in the realm of dental technology, but Gary Perlman, DDS, hesitated before committing to one of the most popular laser procedures, LANAP (laser assisted new attachment procedure). After careful study and extensive training in Denver and Los Angeles, though, Perlman eagerly incorporated LANAP into his portfolio of services for patients with periodontal disease.
LANAP is the only FDA-approved protocol for achieving new attachment of tooth root surfaces with a laser. A small laser is inserted between the tooth and gum, thereby killing bacteria with virtually no pain, swelling or bleeding. The entire treatment process spans one consultation, a few hours of laser treatment, a short checkup after a week and two follow-up appointments over six months.
“I waited several years before using LANAP,” says Perlman. “I had to determine if it actually worked. I read articles and studied the results. I’ve been using it for over two years now, and in my 26 years of practice, it’s above and beyond anything I’ve done as a periodontist.”
Perlman and his staff follow a strict protocol that is used by LANAP practitioners across the country to ensure proper healing after the procedure. Patients can expect to have six months of follow-up visits before being released to their general dentist. At that point, patients alternate between visits with their general dentist for preventive care and restorative needs and visits with the specialist to evaluate their periodontal health and ensure proper healing.
Aside from necessary dental work, such as crowns and periodontal procedures, tooth whitening is one of the most popular services that dentists provide. Developments in tooth whitening have become so commercial that at-home kits are now sold in grocery stores, but Holly Nadji, DDS, stands by Zoom Tooth Whitening, a procedure that she has sworn by for her 16 years of dental practice.
“You come in for about an hour. We have you watch television while we put gel and a laser light on your smile, and you immediately walk out with teeth that are five to ten shades lighter,” she says.
Nadji cautions that no tooth whitening system is permanent, but she is steadfast in her endorsement of the Zoom system. “I’ve had Zoom done on my own teeth throughout the years and I’ve been very pleased with the results. In some cases there is transient sensitivity after the procedure, but it lasts no longer than 48 hours.”
When convenience is the determining factor for her patients, the speed and simplicity of the Zoom system often wins out over at-home options. “Most patients find home procedures to be cumbersome. It’s much more convenient to come to the office and have an immediately lighter shade of teeth.”
The dentists and procedures featured here represent only a small percentage of the cutting-edge dental care available on the First Coast. To learn more about how to achieve optimal oral health, discuss these or other options with your dentist. And be sure to check out the accompanying list of top area dentists and the professional profiles here.