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Dental Technology

An important aspect of the medical community is staying up to date with current practices and making sure you aren’t using outdated technology. If you aren’t practicing the latest dental procedures, or using the newest technologies, you are putting yourself and your patient at a disadvantage. Here at Costa Smiles, we understand that importance of both of these factors and take pride in always being up to date and being current with technology.

That’s why our office is equipped with state of the art dental technologies. This allows us to make sure that you as the patient are receiving the absolute best care, with the highest quality possible. From our digital x-ray machine, laser cavity finder, intraoral scanner, and our oral cancer screening, we always have the latest and most efficient dental products technology has to offer us.

If you have any questions about the equipment we use, or need more information about the technology. Please contact us, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

  • Digital Radiology
  • Oral Cancer Screening
  • Laser Cavity Finder
  • Intraoral Scanner

Digital Radiology

The transition from traditional, film-based radiography to advanced digital x-ray imaging has been one of the most profoundly important progressions in modern dentistry. Conventional dental radiography passes x-rays through the teeth into a piece of film. That film then goes through chemical processing, a costly and time-consuming development process. Digital radiography eliminates the need for film, instead using precise sensors that interface directly with a computer. Rather than waiting around for images to develop, patients and doctors can view x-ray results within moments. Images are sent to a computer and can be displayed easily and quickly on a screen. Additionally, the digital format allows for simplified image enhancement and sharing between doctors, benefitting diagnoses and other clinical efforts.

Oral Cancer Screening

There’s a growing trend within general dentistry that stresses the importance of overall oral health is not only health of teeth and gums, but of all the soft tissues in the oral cavity and oropharynx. Growing numbers of clinical practitioners now incorporate routine intra- and extra-oral head and neck exams into their hygiene appointments to screen for dysplasia, oral cancer and a host of other oral diseases.

Approximately 36,540 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx every year. During the same time period 7,880 Americans will die of oral cancer.

  • If found early, while still Localized (confined to the primary site), oral cancer’s five-year survival rate is good: about 83%. Only 33% of all oral cancer discoveries fall into this category.
  • If found while Regional (progressed to regional lymph nodes) the five-year survival rate drops significantly, to about 55%. Approximately 46% of all oral cancer discoveries are Regional.
  • If found late, oral cancer’s five-year survival rate is poor: approximately 32%. This accounts for approximately 14% of all oral cancer findings.
  • Clearly, finding oral cancer in its early stages is key to survival.

Used in conjunction visual and tactile oral exam, Dr. Costa uses that latest technology called VELscope Vx to facilitate the discovery of pre-cancerous lesions before they become visible to the naked eye. The VELscope Vx is the most powerful tool available for assisting in the discovery of oral abnormalities. The VELscope’s distinctive blue-spectrum light causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce. Healthy tissues fluoresce in distinctive patterns are¬†patterns that are visibly disrupted by trauma or disease. Using the VELscope, a wide variety of oral abnormalities can be discovered and¬†often before they’re visible to the unassisted eye.

Routine VELscope examinations can improve the morbidity and mortality of oral-cancer, because the VELscope system assists in early detection, potentially saving lives through less invasive, more effective treatment. See the video below a demonstration.

Laser Cavity Detection

Standard tactile inspection and advanced digital x-rays can help spot most common caries, or cavities. Miniscule and internal cavities, however, are tougher to detect early on. Laser cavity detection grants doctors and patients major advantages in early detection and prevention of tooth decay.

Internal cavities occur when bacteria pierce through the outside enamel on a tooth into the dentin, and then the enamel remineralizes, making it tougher to find infection without the aid of special tools. This remineralization is more likely in developed nations, like the US, that practice water fluoridation.

Dr. Costa uses an advanced intraoral camera and laser scanner called SOPROLIFE. The scanner emits harmless blue LED light on teeth suspected of cavities. As the light passes through the teeth, the interior dentin reflects some light back, or fluoresces. By examining differences in the color and intensity of this fluorescence, Dr. Costa can determine the presence and extent of even the earliest stages of infection.

The SOPROLIFE scanner also acts as a traditional intraoral camera. In Daylight mode, the device emits normal, white light. Where the blue LED light specializes in illuminating tooth tissues, the white light camera gives doctors and patients a clear picture of the outside of the teeth. The camera features up to 115x magnification. Images can be enhanced and manipulated at will to provide a more precise view.

Combining traditional inspection and laser cavity detection, Dr. Costa can find and diagnose cavities as early as possible. This process is safer and less invasive than some conventional probes, and allows Dr. Costa to provide the best possible treatment. Both of our family dentistry offices in Great Falls and Brambleton, VA, offer laser cavity scanning.

Intraoral Scanner

Intraoral scanning is the process of using a digital camera to scan the teeth and gums. Digital scanning helps Dr. Costa’s dental team identify and model cracked, broken, and worn down teeth that may need crowning. The Omnicam produces data in the form of computer-aided drawing (CAD) files with exact specifications and models for crown production. While Costa family dentistry does not mill crowns in office, CAD files can be shared simply and easily to speed the crowning process.

The Costa dental team uses the best, most advanced intraoral scanner available: the CEREC Omnicam. The Omnicam is a small, handheld camera that captures digital impressions of teeth and gums in live time. This incredible dental technology simultaneously scans and builds computer models of the oral cavity in full color and detail.