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Pearly Whites by Dr. Marcas Mac Domhnaill

Pearly Whites by Dr. Marcas Mac Domhnaill

The digital age is changing the way we live and work, whether we like it or not. This is the same for dentistry in the ways that we examine patients, diagnose problems and in the provision of treatment.

The advent of digital radiography (x-rays) has made the diagnosis of dental decay, fractures, micro-cracks and dental infection much easier. It allows the dentist to show the images to the patient on a screen so that they understand the issues involved. Images can be enlarged to pin-point problem areas. Small x-rays take only a fraction of a second and a full mouth radiograph takes only twelve seconds. The images are developed immediately within a matter of seconds. This is a huge advantage over pre-digital x-rays as they were slow to be developed. The digital x-ray is also a great way to educate patients in good oral hygiene as food traps etc. can easily be identified on the image, when damage to the teeth and gums has occurred. Images can also be e-mailed to patients and specialists if required.

Monitoring dental health of a patient has been made much easier with intra-oral cameras and scanners. Digital photographs can easily show broken teeth and fillings. They can also show inflammation of the gums and swellings or colour changes in the mouth. They are very useful in monitoring gum recession. Indeed, many dental problems do not cause any initial pain or discomfort in the mouth but may be detected with digital photography. An example of this would be red or white patches increasing in size in the mouth which could indicate mouth cancer.
Digital scanners are now becoming very popular in the provision of dentistry. Teeth and gums can be scanned with a hand-held camera. The image can then be viewed on a computer screen. The images can be enlarged and rotated for easier viewing by the patient. Scanners can be used in monitoring gum recession and tooth wear, planning orthodontic treatments to move teeth and also to make crowns, bridges, dentures etc. Scanners can also be used to give a simulation version of a proposed dental treatment. This would give an image of the proposed treatment and allow the patient to see what their teeth might look like post-treatment. This is very useful in orthodontics and smile make-overs. These digital tools help both patient and dentist to find the best treatment outcome for the patient. It is often only when a patient understands the problem and the treatment options proposed that they can make an informed decision on their dental treatment. Remember, your dentist is always happy to explain your treatment options to you.

Beir bua agus beannacht.

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49, Sráid na Carraige Uachtarach, Trá Lí, Co. Chiarraí
49 Upper Rock Street, Tralee, Co. Kerry
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