Scott S. from Raleigh, NC (Source: Yelp)
We moved to Raleigh in 2004, and Dr. Hipps has been our family dentist ever since. She’s Leonardo da Vinci with a dental drill. A few weeks ago, I was in for a routine cleaning, and the hygenist pointed out that some decay had started at the base of one of the crowns Dr. Hipps had done for me some time ago. To adequately address the problem required replacing the crown with one that could cover the damaged area and prevent future bone or gum damage. Dr. Hipps is a single dentist office, not a complex practice with multiple dentists. Yet, she has the latest in dental technology at her fingertips to ensure that her patients receive the best possible service. Now, I’m not your typical patient; with over five decades of severe seasonal allergies, I only breathe through my nose if I’m focused on it and relaxed. Also, I have a strong gag reflex, so I’m a double threat for Dentists. Finally, I’m a Technology Evangelist at the cutting edge of computing with deep experience in areas like supercomputing, networking, and even hobbyist areas with experience 3D printing and building IoT devices. So I know technology and can appreciate a true master of it. After sitting in the chair, Dr. Hipps used a camera on a wand to scan both the crown to be replaced and the teeth around. The computer connected to this scanner, in real-time, evaluated if it had enough of the right images. When it didn’t, it alerted Dr. Hipps, and she instantly added more videos. The computer, then in a matter of a minute or two, built a 3D photo-realistic model of that side of the inside of my mouth. Dr. Hipps then reviewed and edited the crown’s model using techniques one would see in Photoshop, further improving the model. She also added some artistic, for a dentist, characteristics to the tooth to make it look more natural. She then hit the button, and two rooms away, I could hear the two automated robotic drills fire up and begin carving my new porcelain crown, which took 15 minutes. Once completed, Dr. Hipps took the newly machined crown, applied a little time with a small handheld grinder, and drill to improve the tooth’s look further. This is where my Leonardo da Vinci reference comes in. Dr. Hipps spent ten minutes revising the initial computer model before fabrication to make it look more realist, then another ten or so minutes on the machined crown to improve her final product further. The new crown on my tooth looks as real as any of the teeth in my mouth. It should be noted that this is a back tooth on the top, one that perhaps only four people in the world will ever see, her, my hygenist, maybe my wife, and myself. When an artisan takes genuine pride in their work, applying details that perhaps only they may ever see or appreciate, well, that’s an authentic artist. Thank you, Dr. Hipps.