As the new year begins we begin the conversion to electronic medical records (EMR) at the office. Step one: digital radiography. I thought I would share some advantages I've already found as we implement the new computer based, filmless system. The first, and probably most significant is the reduction in radiation exposure for patients. We switched film several years ago and were able to cut radiation in half. By going digital, we have reduced that exposure by 2/3. Which means the amount of radiation needed to take a routine bitewing radiograph is now 1/6 what it was when I began practicing!! The second is instant feedback. No more waiting five or ten minutes for films. The x-ray is available instantly. I imagine those minutes seem like hours if you're the one sitting in the chair with a toothache! In addition, the image acquired is instantly available on the screen in front of the patient. It can be viewed, magnified, and enhanced to help the patient see what I see...no more patients squinting at a view box trying to imagine what I'm seeing through my magnifying glasses . And finally... no more chemicals. I am able to eliminate fixer, developer, and numerous other environmentally unfriendly products involved in the old film based process from the office all together. I am really looking forward to discovering many more advantages I have not even thought of yet. Once we get comfortable with this aspect...its on to part 2: the paper chart...stay tuned.
This is a very common question. The answer is...maybe. Six months in between cleanings is an interval that has been made popular by insurance companies. They had to come up with some standard to write into policies. However, it is only an average. The truth is there are patients that could go eight months in between cleanings and some that should visit once a month. It really is based on how fast your mouth develops plaque comblined with how effective your home care is (brushing and flossing) at removing the plaque. Once calculus forms (in about 24 hours), it can only be safely removed by scraping it off with specially designed dental instruments. So, how do you decide...ask your dentist or dental hygienist. Don't forget oral cancer screenings are a routine part of every dental exam, so I do not recommend going any longer than a year without being examined by a dental professional. Of course if you notice anything unusual in your mouth such as pain, bad taste, temperature sensitivity, any swelling, or any unusual red or white spot (with or without pain) that doesn't heal in ten days, call your dentist right away.
Welcome to the 1st ever Tooth Talk post. I wanted to have a place where I could touch on dental topics of interest in an informal way. I know what you're thinking...dental and interest don't belong in the same sentence. However, every time I'm at a gathering of any sort, as soon as people know I'm a dentist there are questions. So, I thought if someone is asking there are probably many more people wondering the same thing. I want use Tooth Talk to just give my opinion on any and all things related to dentisty. If there is something you would like to learn about, please don't hesitate to ask. With that...enjoy Tooth Talk.