Dentistry has come a long way in the some-9000 years of its practice. Evidence shows the earliest forms of dentistry, found in the Indus Valley Region of today’s Pakistan, involved the use of bow drills which, incidentally, were also used to start fires and in woodworking. Today, ongoing research and the continuous refining of methods and procedures have led to state-of-the-art devices and materials that stand as a testament to the axiom that necessity is ever the mother of invention.
One of the latest devices patented by two researchers, Maxine McClain of Atlanta, and J. Bruce McClain, Virginia, in late 2011 has raised the bar yet again. Their device is able to determine the status of a tooth underneath a crown which then allows dentists to implement certain measures to treat the underlying tooth avoiding more invasive and costly procedures.
Dental crowns have become a standard and effective replacement for damaged teeth. A crown is set to protect teeth that contain cracks or has required substantial drilling to remove caries, a much better alternative to complete removal of the tooth. Removing a tooth completely causes all sorts of additional problems so the crown is now a mainstay in modern dental practice. The only problem: the lack of transparency to the tooth underneath.
Crowns require use of an adhesive which can wear away. Additionally, demineralization within the tooth and tooth decay can persist requiring professional attention. Up to now, in order to address problems underneath a crown, it would first have to be removed, which requires dissolution of the adhesive “cement.” Only then could issues be diagnosed and treated.
With the McClains’ device, an electrical impulse is sent through the crown and measures the amount of impedance to determine the status of the tooth. The less impedance, the more decay. A similar device is used to measure the rate of decay on an exposed tooth but this new procedure calls for the use of an electrically conducive adhesive within the crown to aid in the process.
The electrical impulse sent through the crown, to the underlying tooth and completing its circuit through the patient’s gums, can actually be used in conjunction with computer software that can translate the data into three-dimensional images to illustrate the location and degree of decay. This provides an effective map of the dental caries within the covered tooth and permits a reliable diagnosis without the need to remove the crown, therefore making a costly, invasive and painful process, as easy as an x-ray.
Dr. Andrew Hall in Colorado Springs uses the latest dental technology in his practice. While this cutting edge device may not be available quite yet, he does have the most modern tools to give you the best dental care possible.