Monday Jun 24, 2019

Dr Joseph Denning

Dentistry Lake Hill Dental Care

Modern Dentistry

Club member Dr. Joe Denning presented a history of dentistry and concluded with modern dental techniques as well as his philosophy of patient care. The Egyptians were adept at dental care 3000 years ago as a picture of sophisticated bridgework was shown. Paul Revere trained as a dentist and was the 1stforensic dentist in the US-identifying deceased soldiers. Modern dentistry began in the 1800s when university education began being required to practice. Dr. Joe went to dental school with his wife Laura Johnstone and they now have a practice in Burnt Hills.

Technological advances over the past 230 years have been many and result in quicker, more precise treatment and less pain for the patient. Digital imaging has replaced film allowing greater detail to be seen. More precise diagnoses results in more precise work. Cone Beam CTs show images in 3D. Composite fillings are now the norm as they more closely approximate tooth strength and don’t weaken the tooth in order to place them. Root canal procedures have also benefitted from new technology, whereas in the past the root was removed without the dentist knowing exactly where they were in the tooth. Now exact measurements are made giving the size and slope of the canal as well as the exact spot of where the dentist is currently working.

Tooth replacements are partial dentures, fixed bridges and dental implants. Each has its place in terms of what the patient wishes, taking cost and long-term implications into consideration. Modern materials make for stronger more natural looking bridges and partial dentures. Modern imaging can see exactly where the dental problems are and how much bone remains to support the various tooth replacements. Dental implants require a 3D scan from which a digital tooth-implanting guide can be made determining the correct angle and depth with pinpoint accuracy. All teeth can be replaced by implants if needed – example a performer. However the cost is prohibitive.

Dr. Joe is mindful of the philosophy of William Osler, a 19thscientist: “It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has.” Dentists see the oral effects of chronic disease and therefore have to see the patient as a whole. Technology is a tool to provide the best care, and does not replace the knowledge and abilities of the provider.

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