The 20th anniversary of The Village Observer runs close to my own 21 years in Lane Cove. In August 1992 I took over a small practice in Longueville Rd with a staff of 1 dental nurse. Since then, I have relocated twice and we are now 5 dentists, 1 hygienist and 8 support staff.
I have seen many changes in dentistry over the last 20 years, and I have definitely always been an early adopter.
In 1993 I purchased my first intra-oral camera, to show patients things that previously only I could see. What was a novelty then is a routine tool today.
I placed my last mercury amalgam filling back in 1995, due to concerns I had about possible toxicity and the reality that nobody wants black teeth. No regrets there!
In 1998 we installed digital x-ray. The advantages were clear: No chemicals to deal with, instant results, and best of all, a 95% reduction in the (already low) radiation dose. More recently, in 2011, we added a cone-beam CT machine into the practice, which is low-dose, 3D x-ray. We constantly diagnose conditions that are invisible to conventional x-rays. It is also very useful for implant planning.
We were amongst the first wave of Australian dentists to offer in-chair teeth whitening, around 1999. Teeth-whitening was fairly new territory back then. Now, we have the ZOOM system, which is the world leader of in-chair whitening.
In 2002 I was amongst the first group of Australian dentists to acquire a laser. The dental laser does things that nothing else can replicate and is thus an indispensible tool. Our current laser, the Waterlase iPlus, allows drill replacement in certain cases, and non-traumatic gum treatment, amongst other uses.
In 2005 I placed my first dental implants. With the help of 3D x-ray, I now use precision guides for all implant placements.
Perhaps the best change that I have ever adopted is acquiring CEREC in 2008. This is computerised chairside, single-visit manufacture of porcelain inlays, crowns and veneers. Although CEREC existed 20 years ago, it was rudimentary to say the least and back then, I could not have imagined that it would allow the mind-boggling kind of treatment it is now offering.
Who knows what the next 20 years will offer? Stem cells to grow new teeth? 3D printing for dental fillings?
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