As a private dental clinic, I receive no grants or money from the government. All money used to pay myself, the staff, bills and investment in both equipment and education comes from the fees I collect from our patients.
My clinic is not the most salubrious, it is clean and functional. However it is the most technologically advanced in N.Ireland if not Ireland. When it comes to making an investment for the practice, new equipment will always win over a fancy chandelier or sumptuous sofa in the waiting room.
One of our most recent investments was our Biolase Waterlase. This is a dental laser we use in every form dentistry, from fillings to the treatment of gum disease and in this endodontic case (root fillings).
This patient attended in pain; the radiograph (x-ray) showed a large cystic area covering the root of three teeth. The nerve of one of these teeth had died quietly and a large cyst had formed in the bone until it had became infected and sore.
We tested the teeth electronically to determined which nerve had died. At this stage the tooth was frozen to allow us proceed with the root filling.
The success of a root filling depends on how close we can render the canal system sterile. To do this we need to remove all the dead nerve tissue then scrub the walls of the canals clean.
The root canal, although it looks straight on x-ray, is an amazingly complex and irregular 3D shape. It is impossible to touch or clean all the surfaces of the walls.
Traditionally Sodium Hypochlorate, Medical Grade Bleach, is used to clean and disinfect the tooth. We still do this, but in addition to this we use the Waterlase to enhance the treatment.
Set to “clean and disinfect” mode, I pass the superfine laser tip along the canal. The laser energises the water causing millions of tiny explosion and implosions. This action scrubs the walls of the canal clean and I do not need to contact or touch the tooth surface. I normally do this after I have used bleach to clean the tooth and I am amazed at how much further debris is removed from the canal.
After this I change the energy setting to sterilise the tooth. Now laser energy is emitted at 3600 from the laser tip. The energy of the light will destroy any bacteria it contacts, but critically cause no damage to the tooth.
Opposite is the same tooth 3 months after treatment was completed. The bone is pretty much completely healed and filled in. More importantly the tooth is pain free and fully functioning.
I could have gotten the same result using the old method without the laser, but not in just two appointments and I wouldn’t have expected such complete healing so fast. It could have taken a full year or more to achieve the same results and possible would have needed to remove more of the root walls to clean effectively, however this would have left the tooth weaker.
This is just one example of how we at Crescent Dental Health are using new Technology to improve our services.