Distinctive Dentistry: State-of-the-Art Care

At Distinctive Dentistry, Dr. Keith Phillips stays on the cutting edge of technology for his patients. He continually invests in the latest equipment and ongoing training to remain proficient in the use of innovative techniques, materials, and instruments.

Distinctive Dentistry provides the highest level of dental care with the best modern technology, including:

  • Surgical Lasers
  • Laser Decay Detection
  • Digital Radiography
  • Intraoral Scanner
  • Ultrasonic Scaling
  • VELscope
  • Computerized Tomography Scan

Surgical Lasers & Wavelengths

Dr. Keith Phillips has attended numerous trainings in order to become proficient in the use of surgical laser technology. Surgical lasers harness photo-thermal energy, using heat as a way to cut into tissue.

Surgical Lasers 101:

  • Lasers are less invasive and more precise than other forms of surgery, and they generally require no stitches! This means less chance of any infection.
  • Lasers are so precise that they allow the removal of bacteria and damaged tissue without impacting the healthy surrounding tissues.
  • Lasers actually promote healthy cell growth and repair.

Dental lasers have four major wavelengths, each of which determines the type and amount of energy used. All four wavelengths—erbium, CO2, YAG, and diode—can be used as soft-tissue surgical devices.

Because erbium lasers generate short pulses primarily absorbed by water, they cause minimal tissue penetration, which is highly important for delicate oral tissue adjacent to hard bone and enamel. This type of laser has proven effective in decontaminating  tissue without damaging titanium posts, as well as in minimizing inflammation and necrosis (cell and tissue death), which ensures relatively quick healing even after cutting through bone. These remarkable qualities make erbium lasers highly desirable in treating any inflammation that may occur after implants.

Providing anesthesia-free restorative procedures for both hard and soft tissue, carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers have proven very positive experiences for patients. An all-tissue laser, the CO2 laser is also readily absorbed by water, and runs in a continuous gated wave pattern.

YAG lasers (as well as ER YAG, Er, Cr, and YSGG), unlike erbium lasers, penetrate much deeper into the tissue, and produce a much higher degree of heat. This requires the highest mastery of the surgical technique.

Diode lasers also penetrate deeply into the tissues, but run in gated waves, which allow for less relaxation of the thermal capabilities.

Laser Decay Detection: The Earliest Intervention

Laser decay detection is safe, quick, painless, and accurate. With a sensor that digitally measures the amount of light absorbed by a tooth, this device shows whether a tooth is healthy (reflecting light) or decaying (absorbing light).

Laser decay detection allows for earlier detections of decay on the tooth surface that may not be caught on an X-ray, and needs no metal dental instruments, which means no poking or prodding.

This laser analysis provides instant feedback on the health of the tooth and can detect decay in deep grooves that are virtually invisible to the eye or on an X-ray. Earlier detection of cavities enables your dentist to provide more efficient, less invasive corrective intervention and treatment that allows for maximum tooth preservation.

CAT/CT Scan and Cone Beam CT Scan: The Most Precise Diagnosis

A CAT scan (Computerized Axial Tomography), also commonly referred to as a CT scan, produces enhanced, three-dimensional, cross-sectional imaging for accurate medical and dental diagnoses. By developing a series of images, CT scan allows a precise, multi-dimensional view of the facial structures—including the teeth and jaw—from inside the body, and ultimately assists in a more enhanced understanding of oral-anatomical relationships than other diagnostic methods.

The Cone Beam CT Scan (CBCT scan) is the latest type of CT scan, requiring even lower doses of radiation than conventional medical CT scanners. CBCT scans are so detailed that they can provide information on potential problem areas that are less than a millimeter in width.

With our very own in-house CBCT scanner, Distinctive Dentistry has access to this precise analytical information and can offer enhanced diagnoses and treatment options.

A CT scan is a helpful diagnostic tool in dental care.

  • If your dentist suspects you have TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder), a CT scan may be needed to examine the joint for greater detail.
  • A CT scan can help a prosthodontist analyze and create crowns, bridges, and implants that fit with more precision in relationship to the existing teeth and bite.
  • CT scans are effective in detecting tooth trauma and abscessed teeth and also in locating nerve proximity to impacted teeth and sinus tissue.
  • CT scans may identify tiny accessory canals that are not detected by conventional 2D X-rays.
  • CT scans are used to assess bone loss and receding gum levels.

Ultrasonic Scaling: The Deepest Clean Possible

What it is: Used to deep-clean the teeth, “scaling” is the removal of hard deposits on the surface of the tooth. Ultrasonic scalers create vibrational energy that loosen calculus and create “shockwaves” that disrupt bacterial formation but have less impact than manual scalers on the tooth structure—enabling the removal of tartar and biofilms with minimal damage to the roots of the teeth.

When bacteria in the mouth builds up, creating plaque and tartar on the teeth, the gums may become inflamed and pull away from the teeth, creating pockets filled with plaque, and causing problems that lead to gum disease.

While flossing and brushing will not remove the plaque from these pockets, research has shown that ultrasonic scaling instruments are significantly more effective than manual scalers when it comes to removing the hard plaque below the gum line (subgingival calculus) and from the tooth’s root surface.

Who needs to have an ultrasonic scaling treatment?

Nearly half of American adults need to have an ultrasonic scaling treatment! In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) published findings that periodontal gum disease and periodontitis affect 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States.1

Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and also the loosening of teeth, but with ultrasonic scaling and regular checkups, it can be prevented or caught early.

VELscope: Check for Healthy Tissue

 When it comes to detecting oral HPV (human papillomavirus), which causes both benign and cancerous skin lesions, dentists on the cutting edge of technology use the VELscope. The earlier a cancerous lesion is caught and treated, the higher the rate of survival, which makes this an essential tool.

How it Works:

The VELscope produces a bright blue light that activates and reveals healthy oral tissues, making them appear green with the fluorescence. Damaged or diseased tissue will not fluoresce—that is, shine or glow brightly—and these tissues look like black or maroon areas in contrast to the healthy glowing tissue. Being able to distinguish between the dark and bright areas helps the dentist identify any potentially cancerous tissues that could damage the oral cavity.

The VELscope is a life-saving device. HPV-related oral cancer can be difficult to detect, and with more than 40 different strains of HPV viruses with various symptoms, many people are not aware that they have an HPV virus at all. Plus, some people have no noticeable symptoms whatsoever. The VELscope provides an effective way to stay on top of your health!

Intraoral Scanners: A Perfect Fit

Intraoral scanners are a digital image assessment tool used to reproduce an accurate record of a patient’s mouth. These images are used to create dental fixtures and fittings such as retainers, invisible braces, crowns, bridges, dentures, and implants.

How it Works:

The wand of an intraoral scanner shines a light inside the patient’s mouth. An attached camera and software program capture all the details and dental features of the mouth, which then appear on a computer screen.

With precise digital data, intraoral scanners have proven to be far more accurate and useful than traditional dental impressions made of alginate or polyvinylsiloxane. In fact, intraoral scanners have virtually eliminated the messy horseshoe-shaped “impression tray” from the dental practice. Most patients love the new technology and appreciate that it doesn’t use trays full of goop!

With the more effective intraoral scanner technology, oral appliances now almost always fit perfectly, without the need for extra fittings.

Digital Radiography: The Better X-ray

Digital dental radiography is essentially a computer-generated image and provides several benefits over traditional film X-rays.

Digital X-rays use up to 90 percent less radiation than film X-rays. While conventional dental X-rays are relatively safe, digital radiography is an excellent option for those who are concerned about radiation.

Digital X-rays provide more accurate images and quick results. With digital radiography, the images are quickly shown on a computer, eliminating the need for developing films. This cuts down appointment time and keeps records more accurately.

With digital viewing, your dentist can enlarge areas for a closer look and adjust them for better contrast. Plus, the images can easily and quickly be sent to other team members and professionals for treatment options and consultations.

Digital radiography is environmentally friendly. With no need for film development, no chemicals are required for processing.

Make an appointment with Distinctive Dentistry to find out how you can benefit from our latest technology and get your healthiest smile possible!

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5615 Valley Ave. E., Tacoma, WA 98424


(253) 922-6822


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