Dental Technology

Dental equipmentDr. Richard Van Der Sluys describes modern dental technology and equipment used in his Redmond, WA dental office:

Air Abrasion

Air abrasion is a fancy word for a small sandblaster. This may sound scary or uncomfortable, but is not at all. In fact, most of the time, I can complete fillings with no shots using this technology.

The reason that drilling on a tooth is uncomfortable is because of heat. Even though the drill sprays water to cool, friction still causes the tooth to get hot. Air abrasion sprays water and air along with abrasive material to clean out the decay. This does not heat the tooth and many fillings can be done without anesthetic.

Laser Cavity Detection (Diagnodent)

This instrument shines a small beam of light into a suspected cavity and determines how much damage has been done in the tooth by measuring fluorescence. Healthy tooth structure exhibits little or no fluorescent but decay does. So by evaluating the light reflected back to the instrument, the amount of cavity can be determined. I can now determine the difference between stain and small cavities in areas that are hard to evaluate by other methods.

Digital X-rays

Digital x-rays not only allow us to reduce radiation exposure, but enable me to email images to specialists. This results in a faster diagnosis process. Sometimes a specialist will decide they don’t need to see the patient which is time and money saved. Finally, by enlarging an image on a computer screen, I can easily show patients what is occurring in their case. More information can be found on the Digital X-ray page.


What are loupes? Loupes are the custom made glasses that you may have seen surgeons and dentists wearing. These can magnify teeth anywhere from 2 to 6 times their normal size. Using these along with a high intensity headlight has made my job easier and more accurate.

Intraoral camera

The intraoral camera is a great education tool. I can take pictures of individual back teeth and show patients on a computer screen. The cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words” definitely applies here. In addition, we send these images to the insurance companies to help get treatment paid.


I know, everyone has computers these days, but I just wanted to point out how they benefit patients in my office.

  • We can give patients estimates on the spot for treatment. These include what we expect from their insurance.
  • Electronically sending insurance claims speeds up the process.
  • I you ever move, we can email all of your records to your new dentist.
  • I can log on to my office computers from other locations. This means that if I am called in an emergency situation, I can look up patient records and x-rays and present a more accurate diagnosis.

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