I don’t consider myself old, but I do have several years of practice in this career we call dentistry. So I hear the fears of my patients quite often. Whether it was a bad childhood experience of a dentist not using anesthetic or their dentist standing on the chair while they “yanked out my tooth”. I still can’t imagine a dentist doing either of those. However, the most common two things that patients fear the most are “the dreaded shot” and “the awful noise the drill makes”. Well many of you know that we have an anesthetic machine called the “Wand”. Instead of using the big silver syringe that you see in most dental offices, the Wand using a small plastic holder with a very fine needle. It controls the rate that the anesthetic goes in (pushing the fluid in too fast is what usually causes most of the discomfort). After we numb a patient, many say they didn’t feel anything. So many of our anxious patients are no longer fearful of getting numb. You can check out this youtube video that will show you what it looks like.
We just recently addressed the noisy drill issue. Older style handpieces or drills use air from a compressor to turn the bur. The loud pitched whirring noise that is heard is the air pushing again a turbine inside the handpiece. Well that noise is not only annoying for the patient, but for us as well. Not to mention that it’s hard on all of our ears. So we did some research and decided that it was time for something different. Electric handpieces have been out for several years and quite popular in Europe. But there were some drawbacks such as heat buildup which could damage soft tissue and lack of speed control in which it may take the operator longer to fine tune the tooth preparation. After researching the different electric handpieces systems, we decided to go with ones that not only address those issues, but provide minimal noise. The power and torque of these handpieces also allow us to remove decay and prepare a tooth in a faster, more efficient manner. There’s less vibration and fiberoptic lighting that allows me to see better. And did I mention that they are very quiet (I think I’ll be able to hear my grandchildren when I retire). You basically will hear the suction tip more than the drill. Check out this video which will show the difference between air and electric handpieces.
We’ve been using these for a while and patients have had very positive experiences. Obviously, we promote prevention and we only drill on your teeth in order to make you healthier. And when we do, our goal is for it to be as comfortable an experience as possible. So between the Wand and our new electric handpieces, we’re moving even closer to that goal.