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Our Dental Technology

Digital Impressions in 3D

The first step in creating a new restoration or to obtain records for orthodontic treatment is to make a dental impression. In the past, this means having to use a tray filled with putty like impression material.  Dr. Finlay and his team have invested in the latest technology that helps to replace this unpleasant procedure 80% of the time!  This cutting edge technology allows us to take extremely accurate digital impressions of your teeth.  We are one of only a handful of practices in the state of Maryland that have embraced and implemented digital impressions to benefit or treatment protocols.

The current version that Dr. Finlay and Dr. Anderson employ is called the Lava C.O.S. It is a breakthrough in imaging technology and is one of the most sophisticated optical systems in dentistry. The process involves an optical wand that contains tiny camera lenses. These lenses capture detailed video images, ensuring extraordinary accurate impressions. The result is a precise-fitting restoration.

Although the technique does not totally replace the use of traditional impressions, it comes a long way in making the majority of the procedures more comfortable with the added benefit of predictable accuracy.


Oral Sedation Dentistry

Dental phobia, or fear of the dentist, is not uncommon.  In fact, many people avoid dental treatments altogether, as the stress and anxiety can be overwhelming.  As a result, the teeth are neglected and many treatments may be necessary to obtain optimal oral health. With sedation dentistry, offered at our Maryland area practice, you can get the smile you’ve always wanted without the stress and fear of your normal office visit.

Nearly all patients are eligible for sedation dentistry.  While you relax comfortably, Maryland cosmetic dentist, Dr. Finlay and his staff can complete any dentistry treatment needed, often in just one visit.

For an oral sedation dentistry treatment, you will take a small sedative pill an hour before you come to the office.  This will help you feel calm and comfortable and by the time you arrive.  Your safety is our primary concern.  During your dental treatment, we will be with you monitoring vital signs.  Dr. Finlay will perform all necessary dental work and though you are in a relaxed state, you will be responsive to any questions or requests.

Dr. Finlay has received extensive training in the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (D.O.C.S) program, the premier resource for sedation dentistry.  Additionally, his staff has been trained in oral sedation techniques and will make you feel safe and comfortable throughout your visit.


Digital Dental Imaging

The technology that allows dentists to accurately record dental images into digital information has transformed our ability to analyze, diagnose, measure and treat dental conditions at a level that was never possible before.  The standardization of these records allows for digital files to be transferred and archived without the loss of quality.  This means that dental care can be better coordinated with specialists and referring doctors. The ability to be able to refer back to a photograph or radiograph that may have been recorded years before with a click of a button, can lend a clue to the severity and susceptibility of an area of concern and influence the treatment that is best for an individual.  Dr. Finlay recognized the value of this information and has utilized this technology in his practice since 1995.

Digital dental imaging essentially is utilized in two formats: photographs and radiographs.

  • Digital Radiographs – In the past, radiographs were a film based technology, that captured an image on a transparent sheet of plastic that was then processed in a developer, fixing the image on the film much the way a photograph is created. The consistency, durability and quality of these images were dependent upon the temperature and freshness of the chemicals used to process the image. The images were subject to deterioration over time and were difficult to duplicate with any level of quality. Digital radiographs utilize significantly lower exposures to radiation and create an image that is far more versatile. The dentist can view the images on the computer monitor and modify the images with software that allows the doctor to diagnose and discover issues at their earliest stages. These images can be e-mailed or shared within a team of doctors, that can facilitate “virtual consultations” to insure the best possible care for the patient. Most recently, with the advent of iCat radiographic imaging, the computer can create an incredible 3 dimensional image of the skull that can be used in the treatment planning and placement of dental implants with accuracy and predictability that was never possible before.
  • Digital Photographs – The technology of digital photographs is around us everyday, from our personal use cameras to our cell phones. In dentistry, particularly cosmetic dentistry, the value is irreplaceable. Photographs from repeatable angles can provide a comparison from which we can measure and evaluate changes in dental health: wear, tooth movement, recession and general deterioration. In cosmetic dentistry the diagnostic power is fascinating. With cosmetic dental imaging software, both the doctor and the patient can have a window into the future in discovering what changes to an individual’s smile will look like. Dr. Finlay was the first in the greater Annapolis area to utilize this in house technology in daily practice. Through simulations, Dr. Finlay and his team can morph into a patient’s smile the virtual changes before any treatment is initiated! This is very often the first step in the design process of creating a new smile. It can be very instrumental to the patient in feeling comfortable about what impact a new smile will have on their appearance. What is important to remember however, that although this creates a vision of where anticipated treatment will take us and creates a great ability for communication between the doctor and the patient, it does not guarantee the final results. It is critical to realize that the simulations are a 2-dimension representation of a 3 dimensional situation and that the final design and results are more related to health and function. Once our goals are established through an analysis of these images, a diagnostic wax up of stone models of the patient’s actual teeth is accomplished. This creates 3 dimensional prototype and architectural plan to guide the anticipated treatment. This important, but occasionally over looked design criteria can be the reason why cosmetic dental treatments can fail. Dr. Finlay’s experience has taught him that proper planning helps to insure a predictable result.
  • Digital Occlusal Force Analysis – The quantification and measurement of the timing and magnitude of forces on the teeth is of critical concern to insure the longevity of natural teeth and dental restorations. In the past, the balancing of these forces was a subjective and anecdotal process.  Dr. Finlay and his team utilize technology through the use of a computer assisted digital force analysis to identify and correct these imbalances of forces via equilibration.  The patented sensor technology was developed at MIT and Tufts University.  The devise utilizes an ultra thin mylar wafer that is inserted over the biting surfaces of the teeth.  The compression of this sheet with the imbedded sensors records the intensity and timing of the contacts of the teeth.