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?
Gaps or spaces between the teeth – known as diastema – can occur anywhere in the mouth, but are often most visible between the two