New technology improves dental visits

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GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) - You don’t have to be afraid of the dentist anymore. New dental technology means faster, less painful visits.

“I’ll tell you this: when I first started, which was quite a few years ago, we would take an impression. It took over 20 minutes,” Dental Assistant Carilyn Froberg said. “The scan that we do now, it's easy in-and-out and it's probably under 5 minutes for all the scans that we need to do.”

Northern Trails Dentistry in Gwinn uses several cutting-edge devices, including an intraoral camera, dental diode laser and digital impression machine, which creates a 3D digital model of your teeth.

“We can scan the teeth after we prep it for a crown or onlay,” Northern Trails Dental Care Dentist Gwendolyn Buck said. “That procedure's done when a significant part of the tooth is lost or when you've got a crack that's in danger of breaking the tooth.”

Each of these tools costs thousands of dollars, so dentists must weigh the costs and benefits of buying them.

“Something as healthcare providers that we always try to keep in mind is, can this be a benefit to my patients while still making healthcare affordable?” Buck said. “So the goal is not just to go buy everything and say, 'hey, I'm new.' We need to make sure that we can still provide care at a reasonable cost to people while improving their quality of care also.”

Digital scans have also increased the range of dental issues that can be fixed with Invisalign, clear plastic aligners for teeth. For example, Dr. Buck is using Invisalign to adjust this patient’s under bite.

Dr. Buck said in the future, dental technology will continue to make procedures less invasive and faster

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