Question: “My dentist seems to be a little behind the times with regard to technology. Should I be concerned?”
Answer: There are some outstanding dentists who don’t have all of the latest dental gadgets and technology who still provide excellent dental care. Many of them rely upon skills learned in the sixties and seventies which have been honed over a long career to yield great results for their patients.
On the other hand, there are a lot of dentists who have all of the “bells and whistles” of modern dentistry but don’t have the clinical or communication skills to deliver great care. Technology can certainly make it easier to render exceptional care, but the dentist must have the necessary training, team, skill, and compassion to do the job right.
This is an incredible time in dentistry due to technological advances, new techniques, and revolutionary new restorative materials. Because of these improvements, there has never been a better time to be a dentist, as well as a dental patient. Delivering high-quality dental care has become more efficient, predictable, and aesthetic than ever before.
Technology like lasers, digital photography, high-tech patient education, digital radiography, quieter electric drills, magnification, and computer-aided anesthetic delivery make diagnosing and doing dentistry more enjoyable for many of us. It generally makes it more comfortable and less stressful for patients, as well.
That having been said, some dentists haven’t embraced the new technology because they have been very successful in treating patients with well-established techniques that they have utilized over many years. The bottom line is that technology alone will never make a dentist great.
A “great” dentist has the ability to connect with the patient, makes a commitment to excellence, spends the necessary time and money to learn how to do things right, and provides the same level of care that he or she would want for him or herself. As a patient, you must establish a positive relationship with your dentist, ask questions, and be an active participant in the care that you receive.
If you are confident that your dentist is concerned with fulfilling your dental “wants and needs” and has the training to do so effectively, then the level of technology present shouldn’t be a huge concern. Having the technology in addition to this, however, should eliminate any concerns about the care you receive.
Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Chesterton and Valparaiso. He is also a clinical mentor with the Hornbrook Group and serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics as the Fellowship Chairman. You may send questions to his office at 1830 South 11th Street, Chesterton, IN 46304, or email them to drarnold@SmilesByArnold.com. More information on this or any other dental topics can be found at www.SmilesByArnold.com.