NEW YORK—Two summers ago, bored, I caught myself yawning into a mirror. To my horror, I noticed on a molar what must have been the hugest cavity I had ever seen.
I leaned into the light for another look. It was clear that the tooth, with a big dark area in the grooves, needed immediate attention. Panicked, I made an appointment with the cheapest dentist who would take me without insurance.
The dentist saw me and I showed him the massive cavity—which he instantly identified as just a filling I had gotten in my teens and completely forgot about. I reddened under his blank stare, thanked him for his time, and flew from the office.
Later I reflected how it was that I, a person of not-below-average intelligence, could have committed this embarrassing error. The fact was, I didn’t know what the inner reaches of my mouth looked like. I figured that most people must have as much knowledge about the insides of their mouths as they do about the deep sea. If only someone had shown me photos…
Luckily, dental offices are increasingly adopting intra-oral cameras, which show the patient the inside of their mouth in real time on a monitor.
The cameras help patients see what is going on and understand how treatment will help them, said Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg, dentist and one of Gallery 57’s founders.
“It leaves no question,” said Dr. Julie Hassid, another dentist and Gallery 57 Dental. “Seeing a photograph makes it easier for the patient to understand what I’m telling them, and easier for me to explain. It’s an invaluable piece of technology.”
Having a visual branded into your memory helps motivate people to take good daily care of their teeth.
“Especially new patients who haven’t had a cleaning in a while—we show them before and after photos of their cleaning. Once you see the plaque, you want to keep your mouth clean.”
Gallery 57’s dentists spend time educating their patients about their specific oral situations. A conference room allows patient and dentist to review together digital x-rays and digital photographs, and discuss each area of concern.
“It’s a chance to sit down with the patient to discuss their problem areas and goals,” said Dr. Frank Orlando. “It evens the playing field and prevents surprises later.”
This is especially helpful to patients who take advantage of Gallery 57’s single-visit restorative dentistry or cosmetic procedures. In the initial conversation, the patient and dentist will explore color, shape, and size options and agree on a plan.
Advanced 3-D imaging and manufacturing technology enable Gallery’s patients to walk in for a diagnosis and walk out with veneers and crowns, no temporaries needed.
The office’s see-all modus operandi extends to its lab. In the back of the office is Gallery 57’s own in-house lab, where prosthetics are milled according to 3-D scans of a patient’s teeth. Patients are welcome to get hands-on in the production of their crowns—rare for most dental offices.
“The openness and design of the office as well as patient’s ability to visit the lab also help them have confidence that they are getting the best treatment,” Koenigsberg said.
This article was sponsored by Gallery 57 Dental.
Gallery 57 Dental
24 W. 57th St., Suite 701
(Between 6th & 5th Avenues)