Greatlakes dental technologies

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Grand Rapids Cutting-Edge Dental Technology

Grand Rapids Dental Technology

Great Lakes Dental Care continues to be proactive when it comes to embracing and taking advantage of our industry’s advances in techniques and cutting-edge technology.

Great Lakes Dental Care strives to offer patients numerous treatment options through state-of-the-art technology and advanced modern procedures.

Our professional family dental office was one of the first in West Michigan to introduce non-surgical periodontal therapy, using the Deka Laser. In addition, we make use of other advanced techniques and equipment, that you can learn more about by clicking on the list of links below:

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To help you take advantage of these modern techniques and technologies, our professional and knowledgeable team will communicate openly with you about all your available options to ensure that you understand your situation fully and leave our office confident about your choice of treatment.

3-D Dental Imaging (iCAT)

As the leader in West Michigan in 3-D Dental Imaging, Great Lakes Dental Care uses this precisely accurate equipment’s 3D views to analyze teeth, roots, TMJ, airway, and sinuses without magnification or distortion. This 3-D image produced by this scanner is essential when placing implants, determining the location of nerves in extractions, and when treating patients during various orthodontic treatments. Amazingly, this procedure only takes about 10 seconds and can eliminate the need for exploratory surgery.

This advanced system also gives your dentist the ability to quickly and easily compile all available images into a virtual study model complete with crowns, roots, developing teeth, impactions and alveolar bone. These highly accurate visual representations help your dentist view your entire oral cavity in 3-D so they can properly diagnose any problems.

The iCAT system even offers a lower dose scanning option (under 5 seconds) which can still capture more information in detailed 3D images while managing your radiation dose.

If you are concerned about radiation from traditional x-rays, or for more information about 3-D Imaging technology, contactGreat Lakes Dental Care today.

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Digital Impressions (Cadent Itero)

This new technology allows your dentist to easily create highly-accurate digital impressions of your teeth and gums, thereby eliminating the cumbersome tray and putty impressions traditionally used to make crowns and bridges. Your dentist can use this technology to capture images of your tooth’s surface and gum tissue, providing an accurate visual representation of your oral cavity. In addition, crowns can be made faster as the image is sent directly to the lab. Thy will also fit better because of the precision and accuracy of the technology. You can even view this technique while it is in progress on your dentist’s computer monitor.

For more information about digital impressions,contact our office today.

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The Velscope system helps your dentist to visualize abnormalities in the mucosal tissues of your lips, mouth and upper throat. In just about two minutes, without rinses, stains or discomfort, a Velscope examination will allow your dentist to improve their assessment of your overall oral health.

The Velscope's blue light ‘excites’ molecules deep within the layers of oral mucosal tissues. In turn, when excited, those molecules emit their own light in shades of green, yellow and red. The Velscope's filter makes this visualization possible by blocking reflected blue light and enhancing the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue.

Of course, the Velscope system is completely safe, since the only thing being shone into the oral cavity is blue light, generated by light emitting diodes. In addition, because the Velscope system is not a diagnostic test, it will not generate false positives. As a modern visualization tool, the Velscope helps your dentist discover a wide range of unhealthy tissue in the mouth, including oral pre-cancer and cancer.

To ensure that your mouth is as healthy as possible, request a Velscope exam during your next visit to Great Lakes Dental Care or contact us for more information.

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Violet-Blue-Light LED Scanner (Spectra)

It’s no secret that many patients cringe at just the thought of going to the dentist due to a fear of drilling. Unfortunately, this fear often keeps them from getting the dental care they need to help prevent tooth decay.

Spectra is a lightweight hand-held device that can detect decay at its earliest stages, resulting in smaller fillings for patients. Often able to reduce or eliminate the need for drilling, this technology can help your dentist detect caries that are too small to be detected by x-rays, especially early stage enamel caries and hard-to-detect fissure caries.

Spectra uses safe, high-energy violet blue light LED technology to enable reliable tooth-by-tooth detection of fissure caries and caries on smooth surfaces. Your dentist will project this light onto the tooth’s surface to stimulate cariogenic bacteria (porphyrins) to appear red when viewed on a monitor, while healthy enamel fluoresces green.

Spectra can even detect decay hidden deep between the margins of existing composite and amalgam restorations. This technology is FDA cleared and is safe to use on both children and adults.

For more information on this exciting new technology, talk to your dentist during your next visit or contact Great Lakes Dental Care during normal business hours.

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Digital X-Rays

Great Lakes Dental Care proudly offers digital x-rays for patients who wish to reduce their exposure to radiation from traditional film x-rays. This innovation will substantially reduce your exposure to radiation from X-rays, making your visit to our Grand Rapids dental office faster and easier.

A few of the advantages of Digital X-Rays:

  • SAFER – Reduces radiation up to 90% over traditional film X-Rays
  • HEALTHIER – Eliminates the need to use caustic chemicals in the office
  • FASTER – Produces enlarged images that can be viewed immediately
  • BETTER – Provides more diagnostic information to identify problems
  • EASIER – Stores images on the computer for easy retrieval for insurance

Your Grand Rapids dentist will begin the digital x-ray process by inserting small film into your mouth, similar to traditional dental x-rays. An image will appear immediately on a nearby computer screen. You and your dentist look at the images on a large LCD monitor, in real time, and make decisions about your dental health. Images are then stored on our computer for easy retrieval.

If you are concerned about radiation from traditional x-rays, or for more information about Digital X-Ray technology, contactGreat Lakes Dental Care today.

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Deka Laser

Our professional dentists use lasers combined with traditional therapeutic methods to improve the dental experience for patients in unique situations. While lasers cannot totally replace or radically change operating methods, they can be used to accompany and back up traditional instruments.

The Deka Laser offers many advantages for both the patient and the dentist:

  • Anaesthesia can be reduced to the use of a spray or gel instead of an injection with a needle
  • Cardiopathic patients and pregnant women can avoid potential problems caused by anaesthetics
  • Faster procedures, resulting in shorter visits and length of treatments
  • Bacterial decontamination and a reduced risk of infections and relapses
  • Selective removal of compromised tissues leaving intact and preserving healthy tooth structure
  • Less suturing necessary
  • Reduced swelling, pain and post-op sensitivity.
  • Faster post-op recovery and healing.
  • Less stress, less anxiety, especially for children
  • No noise or vibrations typical of the drill
  • Immediate aesthetic results
  • Safer for coagulopathic patients thanks to the absence of bleeding

If you would like more information about the use of the Deka Laser, please contactGreat Lakes Dental Care today.

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Great Lakes Dental Technologies (formerly Great Lakes Orthodontics), Tonawanda, NY,is sponsoring “MSE by Dr Won Moon—a UCLA Orthodontics Lecture and Workshop” on May 3, , in Los Angeles.

Developed by Moon, DMD, MS, the MSE is a version of the Won-Moon-MSE-Lecture_GLDT(MARPE) and is capable of producing dramatic maxillary skeletal expansion, according to the company. This advanced seminar will feature a retrospective overview, current usage, latest developments, and prospective advanced MSE applications as suggested by the latest findings from the UCLA research team.

Moon, who is a clinical professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry, will also present a hands-on workshop after the lecture.

Great Lakes is the exclusive North American distributor of Moon’s MSE hardware.

Moon’s lecture will take place from am to pm PT at the LUXE City Center Hotel, in Los Angeles, while the hands-on workshop will take place from pm to pm. Enrollment is limited; and enrollment in the lecture is required to attend the workshop.

Moon completed his dental education at Harvard and orthodontic education at UCLA. He studied mathematics prior to dentistry. Moon, who co-authored four textbooks and has published his research in various journals, has given over presentations of these findings in 21 countries. He currently serves as the chair and program director of the UCLA Orthodontic Residency Program and has been a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics since

To learn more and register, visit or

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Great Lakes Dental Technologies has fabricated sleep appliances for over 25 years. In that time, fabrication techniques have evolved to take advantage of traditional materials such as acrylic and wires. Optimization of these appliances within the confines of the materials’ characteristics created some uncrossable boundaries. Balancing the qualities of fit, strength and durability, comfort and flexibility, as well as cost has always been a challenge.

The advent of 3D printing in dentistry, or more specifically, the application of additive manufacturing to create appliances rather than models has opened new opportunities for appliance design that were previously impossible.

The Herbst®* sleep appliance is a popular and widely used appliance that is ideally suited for the application of 3D printing technology. Here we discuss two innovative versions of the Herbst sleep appliance – one laser sintered from nylon and another laser melted from chrome-cobalt.

Traditionally, the Herbst appliance fabrication technique features several labor-intensive and skilled steps including bending heavy wire framework for reinforcement, adapting acrylic and thermoplastic for structure, and placement of hardware which is critical and requires skill and experience to perform by hand.

The challenges or limitations include requiring a technician with experience and skill; both in wire bending and acrylic and trimming procedures. A lengthy training time for technicians is typical. Appliance durability is only increased by wire framework or adding acrylic bulk. The added bulk is a deterrent to patient compliance and occupies valuable tongue space. Additionally, the Herbst appliance is still subject to fracture and wear from the destructive forces of bruxism.

Laser Sintering

Laser sintering technology has been around for years. Its application in dentistry is more recent – specifically metal applications in crown, bridge, removable partial denture (RPD) frameworks, and nylon applications in sleep; examples include the Narval and Panthera D-SAD™ appliances. Laser sintering requires a comparatively large capital investment compared to traditional skilled fabrication but will become more common and accessible as the technology matures in the dental space.

The technology allows for digital design of appliances. The laser melts layers from a bed of dry powder, rather than curing layers of liquid resin with light. Laser sintering yields a wider variety of different material properties.


Nylon Laser Sintering

For a Herbst appliance, using laser sintered nylon results in a very thin and comfortable appliance. A nylon “overlay” substructure is created to receive custom Herbst pivot hardware. The advantages include an aesthetically favorable white plastic, an extremely durable and strong appliance that also features uniquely flexible properties.

The nylon Herbst appliance can be made very thin (less than 1mm thick), and it will still be incredibly durable and retentive while maintaining its flexible nature at this thickness. This makes the appliance easier to insert and much more comfortable for the patient. The low-profile design precisely engages the undercuts to enhance retention and fit.

Post-processing of the sintered parts is a significant component of the workflow, and one that should be specially adapted to each type of part being fabricated. Nylon sintered parts require depowdering after removal from the machine. This can be done by hand with a media blasting cabinet. It can also be automated with rough tumbling.

After depowdering, polishing can be accomplished by hand or by a largely automated tumbling process with several media stages. Some dental parts, including most sleep appliances, are well-suited for isotropic finishing. However, some appliances such as splints require a more targeted approach to preserve the critical accuracy of the occlusal contact area.

Metal Laser Sintering

Metal sintering technology allows for a removable Herbst sleep appliance with an entirely metal framework and no added acrylic. Appliance fabrication using metal laser sintering technology relies less on manual technician skill and is extremely consistent.

The Herbst framework is laser sintered in chrome-cobalt to which Herbst pivots are then also laser welded. The metal sintered appliance is very strong and can use an RPD-style skeleton to support the Herbst pivots, reducing the overall bulk and creating the lowest profile appliance possible. Retention is designed like removable partial dentures, with the undercut being engaged precisely.

Experienced technicians translate years of bench experience into the digital design process.

The framework is designed in software, so the clasping is accurate and effective. Hardware placement is simulated in the software to ensure comfort and freedom of movement.

Metal sintering requires significant post-processing. Support structures are created with every part, and then must be removed prior to finishing. Care and effort are taken in the initial stages of design to facilitate the removal of these supports. These parts, like nylon, require an initial rough surface improvement to depowder and prepare for subsequent stages.

Metal sintered parts can be finished by hand, requiring several stages of grinding with a stone wheel to smooth the part sufficiently for polish. The parts can also be efficiently tumbled in a variety of tumbling machines to produce a desirable smoothness. Electro-polishing can also be used as a final polishing stage.

Fabrication consistency is high and appliance records can be kept indefinitely. Design parameters of appliances can be controlled more objectively, and in some cases quantified, creating better communication between labs and doctors. Highly technical elements are reallocated to the digital design portion of the workflow providing opportunities for work to be done remotely. As laser sintering technology becomes more accessible to labs, the main differentiating factor will be the quality of the digital design – anchored by the experience and skill of technicians.

Digital design of appliances is the future of lab work. Leveraging new materials and fabrication techniques pushes the design and appliance effectiveness further forward and creates better diagnostic and therapeutic experiences for patients. Great Lakes Dental Technologies is committed to this pursuit and has sintered it into product development and appliance fabrication operations.

About Great Lakes

Great Lakes Dental Technologies is an employee-owned company, with employee-owners who design, develop, manufacture, and market appliances and products for use in the orthodontic, dental, and sleep and airway markets. Great Lakes is one of North America’s largest orthodontic laboratories and offers more than 4, products and services. Training and education on the latest appliance fabrication techniques and equipment is offered online and at the onsite training center at the company’s headquarters.

*Herbst is a registered trademark of Dentaurum, Inc.


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Adjusting Contacts Nylon Splint Video

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