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High-Tech Dentistry: What it is and What it isn’t

Commonly, we will hear that someone likes our office because it appears “modern”, and has “up-to-date equipment”.  That may be good, but keep in mind that just around the corner there will always be a “moderner” and more “up-to-date” office!  There are great office interior designers, there are beautiful-looking pieces of equipment that can fit in at an art museum.  Anyone who has been to a dental trade show will attest to that fact. 

And you know what?  Who can blame people for following the flash and show of a sparkly, sleek new gadget?  We have gotten ourselves used to a cycle of yearly refreshed designs – cars, entertainment, computers, communications; all of these technologies seem so out of date just a few years after their much-balleyhooed release.  Quaint, almost.  When we evaluate a technology for dentistry, we really have to ask ourselves: is this device going to improve the dentistry, or is it more for show?

The reality is this: your body has not changed.  Homo sapiens (or homo sapiens sapiens if you must) have not changed anatomically in 200 000 years.  If you’re looking for the best dentistry, it will not be found in better technology.  It will be found in a better understanding of biology.

Thus our focus on evidence-based dentistry – it’s not sexy, but it will tell us what works and what doesn’t.  Ultimately, it will guide us to the right thing to do.  There is plenty of information available on the internet, but somebody needs to filter it out; our goal is to focus on the strength of the evidence, and where present, prevent decision-making based on “personal experience” or an anecdote that came up somewhere.

Evidence-based dentistry means evaluating the research and making recommendations based on the best data.  This means changing with the information, and not the latest product cycle.

So, what is the most high-tech dentistry?  It’s a misleading question – the most modern,  best dentistry, will not be found in the technology, it will be the dentistry that has the best research behind it.  To that end, we have introduced a new form to our office.  It’s  a questionnaire that is one page long and asks you questions about different aspects of your mouth.  Each question has been designed to pinpoint specific problems, and if answered carefully, is the first step towards an accurate diagnosis of your entire oral condition.  (Full credit is given to the Kois Center who created this questionnaire).  How do we know this?  Each of the questions has been validated by research to elicit the proper answers in the event of any dental problems.

Download the questionnaire here.

This is the most high-tech thing in the office, and it’s on one sheet of paper.

Of course, this does not mean that there is no place for new materials, instruments, or techniques.  But, it does mean that the next new thing should not be an end in itself – the next new thing should only be selected if it’s going to improve something: the quality, durability, or simplicity of a treatment. Let’s not follow the false gods of “the newest thing”.  We feel so strongly about it that it appears as the first point on this page. An understanding of biology will never go out of date, and will outlast any new equipment that ever comes out.

Hope this was enlightening!  For a detailed opinion of your mouth, please contact us!  We’d love to be your dentist in Barrie.


Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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