I asked Dr. Marty Jablow of Dental Technology Solutions to share a little about some developments in dental technology, and he graciously agreed. Dr. Jablow is a dentist in New Jersey and also helps other dentists learn about technology through Dental Technology Solutions.
Hannah: When did you first become interested in technology’s role in dentistry?
Dr. Jablow: Probably once I got out of dental school. I would probably say the early 1990s.
Hannah: Was there any event that caused that interest?
Dr. Jablow: No, I just was always interested in all kinds of different technologies. At that time frame I wound up getting one of the first dental lasers, intraoral cameras and computerizing the office.
Hannah: You practice dentistry in a group setting, right? How has your office integrated technology into the practice?
Dr. Jablow: Technology is integrated by the fact that there are computers in all the treatment rooms, we’re chartless, we have digital radiography so all the patients’ treatment and X-rays are all available to everyone, even at the same time, in all the treatment rooms, so no more running around looking for charts.
Hannah: Has that been the case for a while, or are they just now getting those technologies?
Dr. Jablow: No, we’ve had digital radiography for I guess six years now, and we’ve been chartless for five.
Hannah: What is the most recent technology acquisition in the office?
Dr. Jablow: There’s a couple. I have a new handheld soft-tissue dental laser, the NV from Discus Dental (now Philips). We also have new caries detection devices to look for cavities. One is called Spectra, another is called SOPROLIFE.
Hannah: And how do those work?
Dr. Jablow: Those are cameras that can look at a tooth, and they look for bacterial byproducts that form cavities, and the reflection of the enamel. They take pictures of the tooth, and it can be analyzed and determine whether it’s a cavity or not.
Hannah: About how long does that take?
Dr. Jablow: Seconds. Five to 10 seconds. And there’s another one called CarieScan, which uses a small current, and it can actually measure decay inside a tooth that way.
Hannah: Which is your favorite?
Dr. Jablow: They all have different uses. There is no favorite – it’s just the right tool for the right job.
Hannah: You mentioned using a soft-tissue laser. Can you explain how they’re used and what makes them better than regular tools?
Dr. Jablow: A laser cuts with light energy, and when it’s cutting gums and soft tissue, there’s no bleeding, it seals the vessels, and it disinfects it and sterilizes it all at the same time. It also heals faster. If you’re using it on a tooth, you’re using a different laser, a hard-tissue laser, and in many cases you don’t need anesthesia. It doesn’t cut quite as fast as a drill, but it will cut without the use of anesthesia. That’s usually the big thing. And the cost of those hard-tissue dental lasers has come down significantly this year.
Hannah: You’re also involved in Dental Technology Solutions – can you tell us a little bit about that, and what you do to make dental technology available to practices around the nation?
Dr. Jablow: Dental Technology Solutions is a consulting and lecture company with my two partners, [Paul] Feuerstein and [John] Flucke. We lecture to dentists telling them how to integrate different technologies into their practice and give them the information from which to make better decisions when purchasing different kinds of dental technologies.
Hannah: About how much of your time do you devote to it?
Dr. Jablow: How much time do I spend out of my office? Probably once every two weeks
Hannah: What do you think is the most interesting dental technology currently in the development or research phase?
Dr. Jablow: Probably the use of ultrasound to image teeth, looking for cavities. The other thing would be what they call Cone Beam, CVBT, to get three-dimensional images of the head, neck and jaws. The more information you can have, the better your treatment decisions and diagnosing will be.
Read more about Dr. Jablow and dental technology at his dental news & technology blog.