Top Dentists 2011: 10 Ways that Dental Treatments Are Getting Faster, Safer, and More Natural

By Sarah Hirsch January 14, 2011 Published in the February 2011 issue of Seattle Met

Super Natural Dentistry
Naturally, Seattle would be a trailblazer in holistic and eco-conscious dentistry, the dental complement to natural medicine. Holistic dentists consider the whole body when recommending treatment, and use biocompatible materials and nontoxic fillings. You may even get the odd nutritional counseling session. Dr. Richard Stickney uses the Waterlase MD Turbo, which sprays atomized water to remove decay, eliminating the need for anesthesia for fillings. His is one of only 4 percent of dental practices nationwide to use the technology. Dr. Richard Stickney, 2107 Elliott Ave, Ste 210, 206-728-1330;

Instant Smile Makeover
Snap-On Smile takes a cue from the instant makeover craze as a quick, painless, and more affordable alternative to veneers. The Snap-On arches fit over your own teeth. They can be completely customized; you choose the tooth size, shape, and color. “Each piece is fitted to your natural gum line and can be worn all day—even while eating and drinking—or popped in just for special occasions,” says orthodontist Hassan Jazaeri. Snap-On arches cost between $1,275 and $1,800, about the cost of a single veneer. Dr. Hassan Jazaeri, Pearl Dental Center, 12900 NE 180th St, Ste 210, 425-485-2978;


No More Gummy Smile
Now matter how straight, pearly white, and healthy your teeth are, your overexposed gums may prevent your smile from showing its fullest potential. That’s where the Odyssey soft-tissue laser comes in. Invented with the aim of improving a “gummy smile,” the laser reshapes gum lines with precision and with less bleeding and discomfort than other methods. Brookside Dental, a family-owned practice with a relaxed, spalike environment has used the laser for over five years. Dr. Pat Pauley, now retired, says, “It’s a great way to improve the shape of gums, and healing time is much faster.” Dr. Cynthia Pauley, Brookside Dental, 13715 Bel-Red Rd, Bellevue, 425-533-9509;


Your Teeth in 3D
Recent improvements in dental x-rays have made way for 3D imaging of patients’ teeth, which offer up a significantly lower dose of radiation than the conventional CT scan, 10 times lower in some studies. Dale Petrich has been using the technology for over a year now and appreciates the convenience for both his patients and himself. “Not many general dentists utilize this imaging, so patients have to be sent to a radiologist. It’s especially important to have for the placing of dental implants, and over time owning these machines will become the standard in care.” The scans are completely painless, taken in under 10 seconds while seated in a comfy chair, and they provide an infinite number of views, allowing for quicker and more customized care. Dr. Dale L. Petrich, 6720 Fort Dent Way, Ste 210, Tukwila, 206-433-5595;

Cavities, the Prequel
Better to prevent a cavity than having to treat it. The low-powered Diagnodent laser projects light through a focused tip and finds decay that would otherwise hide undetected under the surface of the tooth. Andrew Lewis has a technology-forward practice and carefully selects the devices he uses. He likes the laser for its ability to “see into the tooth without any radiation and detect cavities at the earliest stage of progression.” Dr. Andrew Lewis, 2101 N 34th St, Ste 160, 206-632-0675;


Closing the Gaps
The biggest trend in dentistry in the past year was the move toward dental implants, which are anchored in the jawbone and are “like a second chance at having your own, natural teeth, and preserve your remaining surrounding teeth,” says Seattle dentist Thomas Junge. Implants fill in the gaps from missing teeth, or anchor custom-fit dentures and partials. A slight variation on this is to get “mini implants,” which attach to your denture or bridge for long-term applications and more stability during wear. Dr. Thomas Junge, Bryant and Junge Prosthodontics, 509 Olive Way, Ste 1438, 206-682-3383;


Drool Defense
At last. Dentists’ offices are addressing the fact that patients need to return to work, school, and the rest of life after a dental appointment, without worrying about drool down their chins or the inability to speak, smile, eat, or drink until the anesthesia wears off. A single injection of OraVerse reduces the numbing and swelling caused by Novocain, and allows blood flow to return to the gums, lips, and cheeks, reversing the anesthetic. Many Seattle dentists offer the injection, though OraVerse is not covered by dental insurance and costs about $30 to $50 per injection.


Invisible Fillings
For years we’ve been hearing about the risks of mercury fillings, so it’s high time that patients have an alternative to the toxic metal. Newer “composite fillings”—made mostly from resin and porcelain—are nontoxic, naturally colored, and rising in popularity. They can be used to seal up new cavities, or to replace older silver amalgam fillings. Dr. Anoosh Afifi is a leader in intravenous sedation dentistry for Seattle, and is one the few endodontists in the area to offer the option along with fillings for the most anxious of patients; so now getting a mouth full of pearly whites is as easy as taking a nap. Dr. Anoosh Afifi, 600 Broadway, Ste 500, 206-400-6068;


Braces? What Braces?
Gone are the days of “brace face” and “metal mouth.” Incognito braces are the hot new way to straighten teeth. More discreet than traditional braces and able to correct misaligned teeth to a greater extent than Invisalign’s clear, removable aligners, Incognito braces are cast in gold in Germany, custom made, and fitted to the tongue side of your teeth—making them undetectable to anyone but the wearer. Dr. Christopher Riolo, who tested out the braces on his own teeth for two years, is the only orthodontist in Seattle to offer them, and reports they are “more accurate and efficient than traditional braces.” Dr. Christopher Riolo, Riolo Orthodontics, 509 Olive Way, Ste 824, 206-467-4441;


Quick Turnaround Crowns
Bellevue dentist Mark DiRe became an early advocate of ceramic reconstruction (CEREC) technology back in 1998. The innovative equipment enables your dentist to design, fabricate, and fit a new crown, veneer, onlay, or inlay in a single visit, streamlining a two-week turnaround into a single day, perhaps even a single hour, eliminating any need for a lab, second appointment, or temporary crown. Following a 3D model of your teeth, diamond-head cutters under computer control cut out a crown from a ceramic block. Now CEREC has grown in popularity and DiRe is a head instructor of the process in the greater Seattle area. Dr. Mark Di Re, 12917 SE 38th St, Ste 202, Bellevue, 425-747-8052;

Filed under
Show Comments

Related Content