NNY dentists embrace new tech

From ivory to porcelain, dental technology grows for patient comfort

Dr. Peter M. Virga, a managing partner at Watertown Dental Health Group, operates his practice with the most up-to-date technological advances in dentistry. Photo by Norm Johnston.

George Washington’s teeth were said to be made of wood. But if you dig a bit into the history books, you will find they were actually made of ivory and gold. Created by a prominent American dentist by the name of Dr. John Greenwood, the plates were allegedly connected by springs. This meant our first president had to keep his jaw clenched tight in an effort to keep his teeth together. If he relaxed, the springs would make his mouth pop open. And nobody really wants to see that.

Today, amazing technological advancements have brought dentistry full circle. Dr. Peter M. Virga, a managing partner at Watertown Dental Health Group, operates his practice with the most up-to-date technological advances in dentistry. From digital photography and intraoral USB cameras to large-screen patient monitors and computer-assisted restorations, Dr. Virga is able to provide exceptional, expedient service to his patients, no springs attached.

“We get the opportunity to meet new people all the time and I love when someone is coming to my office for the first time and they’re seeing and experiencing new technology for the first time,” Dr. Virga said. “It’s great to know that we’re able to change someone’s outlook and experience as far as dental care.”

The latest digital photography replaces X-rays, revealing instant results with 80 percent less radiation. Large flat screens enable patients to view those images right away, so no more waiting for them to develop. And intraoral USB wand-like cameras take photos for patients to see so they have a better understanding when it comes to problem areas in the mouth. But perhaps the most innovative and impressive technological advancement in dentistry today is Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or the CEREC. The CERAC offers computer-assisted design of milled ceramic restorations, which is quicker, less evasive, and cuts down on follow up visits.

Dr. Virga uses Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics to review a patient’s teeth.

“With the CERAC, there are no impressions,” Dr. Virga explained. “It uses 3-D photography, computer-assisted design and milling to produce an indirect all-ceramic restoration in one sitting. Milled porcelain is much stronger than porcelain that’s layered. There are many benefits to CERAC, too. Patients don’t have to come back or have a temporary for a period of time. This is really a win-win, because we’re able to produce a restoration that conserves healthy tooth structure as well as saving the patient time.”

Dr. Joseph Girardi also is part of the practice. He said that many patients don’t even realize the kind of technology available in dentistry. But when they do, it’s a whole new experience for them.

“Most dental offices do not have the CERAC machine, so it’s neat to see their reaction when they sit down in front of it,” Dr. Girardi said. “This kind of technology not only enhances the patient experience and cuts down on appointment time, but it allows us, as dentists, to do our jobs better then ever. You can still get serviced at your regular dentist office the way you used to, but the new technology here can really enhance the patients’ experience.”

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]

Joleene Des Rosiers is a freelance writer, author and motivational speaker who lives in Pulaski. Contact her at joleene@joleenespeaks.com.