PLATTSBURGH — It’s out with the old and in with digital at the Plattsburgh Dental Group.
Conventional impressions of crowns, bridges and Invisalign (custom-teeth straighteners) are passé. No more rubbery goop or plaster since the January installation of iTero, an intra-oral scanner, which takes a digital impression of a patient’s teeth and bite. Think a 3-D image of the topography behind your lips.
The price tag for the iTero was $30,000, but the custom fit and savings in time and adjustments are well worth it in Dr. C. Thomas Gerner’s estimation.
“We take an impression but optically,” he said.
He demonstrated by having the computer direct the machine to take a picture of a specific tooth for a crown.
“It takes an impression in three dimensions. We can email that impression to the laboratory as opposed to making an actual impression,” Gerner said. “With the traditional method, the impression material distorted. Now, we get a representation of the teeth, and it’s perfectly accurate.”
Several hundred patients have already benefited from the new technology.
“Because we email the info to the lab, the lab starts working on the crown before the patient leaves the office. It’s pretty amazing. The results we’re getting are better than I’ve ever seen. We save time seating the crown. They fit so precisely. They don’t require the adjustment we used to have to do,” he said.
Gerner also dropped $100,000 on a Vatech PaX-Duo3D, a two-in-one digital-radiography system, which provides a true digital pan as well as Computed Tomography imaging. The price of Computed Tomography has come down enough so a dental office like Plattsburgh Dental Group can afford its own.
“A traditional panoramic x-ray flattens out your face,” Gerner said. “We needed to get a digital panoramic. The previous one we had was 30 years old. We had to develop film. With digital technology, we can get something much faster and precise. We don’t have to bother with film.”
The Computed Tomography feature allows him to access a patient more accurately as a candidate for a tooth implant by allowing him to see the density of the jawbone.
“Before we suggest a patient have an implant, we can make sure there is enough bone to put it in,” he said.
It also allows him to be more precise in his placement of the implant.
“It uses a fraction of the radiation of the larger CAT scans found in a hospital. It could be used to detect fractured jaws or abscesses. We think we can find a fracture in a root more precisely with a machine like this than we ever could before,” Gerner said.
This year, Gerner celebrates the 35th anniversary of his graduation from Case-Western Reserve School of Dentistry.
“In the last 10 years, the technology advances have been greater than in the previous 25 years,” he said.
Email Robin Caudell:
firstname.lastname@example.orgTO LEARN MORE WHAT: Plattsburgh Dental Group WHERE: 91 Hammond Lane, Plattsburgh. CONTACT: Call 563-7620 or visit www.plattsburgh dentalgroup.com.