Category Archives: Technology

A Patient Describes Her Recent Visit To Our Office


Your Filling Got In My Crown! Your Crown Got In My Filling!!

I have found myself have a discussion with patients lately about something called an onlay. Leave it to dentists to use a lot of dental tooth-speak technical jargon to confuse patients. So what is this “over-lay” thing Dr. Matt? Actually it’s an onlay, but never mind what it’s called, let me tell you what it is and why I love them.

An onlay is kind of like a mix between a filling and a crown. The onlay gives you the strength of a crown, but only for the part of the tooth that needs it. So here is a list of some of the benefits of one of my favorite types of tooth restorations (I know. I should get a life…)

1) Better Fit. Since onlays are made outside of the mouth and then bonded to the tooth, they can be fabricated with a superior fit. This means that the tooth will be sealed better and provide better longevity.

2) Durability. Onlays are made of materials such as porcelain, composite, and gold. These materials are manufactured under well-controlled conditions to provide better mechanical properties when compared to fillings. This means that onlays are made of stronger materials to last a long time.

3) Supports weakened teeth. The more of a tooth that has been destroyed by a cavity, the weaker the tooth, and the more susceptible the tooth is

Here are some examples of onlays. See how they look like a piece of a puzzle to fit in the tooth.

to fracture. Onlays can support teeth that have been weakened and help prevent fracture of the tooth. Fillings typically do not provide any support.

4) Conservative. This one I really like. Onlays provide the strength and support of a crown, but only where it is needed. So in other words, you don’t have to remove as much tooth structure as you would with a crown. The result is a strong restoration that fits into the tooth like a piece of a puzzle fits.

These are just a few of the reasons that I like to recommend onlays to patients. They are a great option when replacing old fillings to help prevent placing a crown on the tooth.

Our office has the technology to place these onlays in a single visit. CEREC technology allows us to use a computer to make the onlay in the office so you do not have to wear a temporary for two weeks while it is being made in the lab.

Here’s an example of a tooth that we worked on recently. The old silver amalgam was removed, and a ceramic onlay was placed. All in a single visit!!

silver filling in the tooth before

tooth colored onlay in the tooth after

The Digital Age… Coming to a Tooth Near You

digital x-ray system

Dentists in Nashville and around the world are constantly presented  new products all the time. Some are great, others not so much. Well, I am proud to announce that our office has recently acquired a new technology that will benefit both our patients, as well as my staff and I as clinicians.

As of June 1st, our office has been using digital x-rays exclusively. This is very exciting to me as a dentist as well as to me as a lover of all things digital. Now, some of you may be saying “Dr. McGee this is just another toy for you to play with.” True, this new xray system is fun, but it has many benefits.

First and foremost, digital dental x-rays require a significantly lower amount of x-ray exposure. Like less than half of the radiation

required to expose traditional x-ray film. That’s huge. X-ray exposure in dental offices has always been very low (about on par with what you’d get standing next to a microwave oven), but half the radiation no matter how little it is a a good thing. So this little x-ray tube on the right will not be zapping you nearly as much as in the past!

digital x-ray plates

Another benefit of this new system is patient comfort. I sampled several digital systems before deciding on the one that I did. Many of the systems out there have a big honkin’ thick sensor that is very hard and has no flexibility to it. When it was placed in mouth to take an image, it was uncomfortable to say the least.

However, our system has wafer thin plates that are actually thinner and more flexible than the film that you’ve experienced in the past. So the result is a more comfortable experience having your x-rays taken.

Yet another benefit of this new technology is easy of communication. What I mean by that is that I can show you your teeth of a big screen and show you what my staff and I see on you x-ray. In the past when I tried to show someone something on an x-ray, I had to hold a little postage stamp sized film and point. The response I got from patients was a lot of blank stares. Now since the images are digital, we can blow them up large on a computer or television screen so you can easily see them. Additionally we can alter the images so that they are optimized for viewing. Finally, we can email your images to any specialists that may be participating in your care.

Oh and by the way, these digital x-rays ask the same fee as traditional x-rays, and insurance companies cover them just the same.

Overall, I believe that this new technology will help to serve our patients here in Nashville well. If you have questions about digital x-rays at your next visit please to hesitate to ask about it, because after all, we love showing off our new toys!!