Digital Revolution
Amsterdam Dental Group embraces pioneering technology—from digital impressions to the on-site creation of custom crowns—to further enhance the patient experience
by Bill Donahue

In matters of technology, there are leaders and there are followers. In the Philadelphia area, Amsterdam Dental Group has embraced a multilayered approach to technology, so that it has practically invented the term “digital dentistry,” in providing the full spectrum of dental care.

For more than two years Amsterdam Dental Group has had completely integrated digital solutions for its best-in-class offices in Center City and Paoli. These forms of technology are designed to assist the practice’s three well-trained, highly decorated dentists—Harold S. Baumgarten, D.M.D., Howard P. Fraiman, D.M.D., and Jeffrey S. Ingber, D.M.D., all of whom have a dual specialty in periodontics and prosthodontics—as well as support staff, to provide the highest quality of care for each patient.

“There’s a revolution, a paradigm shift, going on in dentistry,” says Dr. Fraiman, “and we’ve been moving toward it, or in some cases ahead of it, for some time now.”

Digital impressions have had perhaps the most significant effect on patient care in that they have eliminated the need for traditional tray-and-putty impressions when creating dental restorations such as crowns, veneers and porcelain inlays. Although digital impressions take approximately the amount of time as their traditional counterparts, the experience for the patient is vastly different.

“Digital impressions are all about patient comfort and superior quality and accuracy,” Dr. Fraiman says. “The traditional approach to taking impressions involves placing a tray with rubber-based putty in the mouth and trying to capture [a likeness of] the tooth accurately, and you might have to repeat the process till you get it accurately. We’ve moved away from traditional impressions, with the tray and the ‘goop’ that goes in your mouth, because patients tend to not like them. In our practice, there’s nothing in the patient’s mouth other than the camera taking pictures from multiple camera angles, and each image is done within a matter of seconds.”

Once the camera has taken this highly detailed “3-D snapshot” of the specific area of the mouth in need of a restoration, the images are then used to fabricate the dental restoration. The practice maintains an in-house milling laboratory in its Center City location, staffed by a team of skilled technicians to customize restorations out of exceptionally durable materials. With the enhanced communication between dentist and fabricator that comes from them being in such close proximity to one another, this technology assures perfection in terms of the restoration’s fit and shading.

“The benefits to us and our patients are that we have custom control over all the design, and the accuracy and durability of the restorations are superior,” Dr. Fraiman says. “We have complete control over turnaround time. With digital dentistry, there is the part that the patient sees in the operatory, and then there are things that the patient might not see but definitely have an impact on their treatment. I would say less than 5 percent of dentists’ offices have the ability to take digital impressions in their office, and most dentists rely on a handful of core central labs to make their restorations.”

Even with such game-changing technology being put to good use, the dentists at Amsterdam Dental Group realize that there is no substitute for proper training and earned expertise. The fact that all three dentists have a dual specialty in periodontics and prosthodontics has set the practice apart from its peers, especially in terms of areas such as dental implants. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all three dentists are clinical professors at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where they are helping to shape the talents of dentistry’s next generation.

The pioneering spirit of Amsterdam Dental Group, which offers dental implants, veneers, bridges, crowns, teeth whitening and Invisalign orthodontic treatment, dates back to more than 70 years ago, when Morton Amsterdam, D.D.S., founded the practice. In 1974, Dr. Amsterdam published a landmark paper on the art and science behind a branch of advanced restorative dentistry then known as periodontal prosthesis. This paper directly influenced thousands of dentistry students from around the world helped and forever changed the course of modern dentistry.

Today, the three dentists who are following in Dr. Amsterdam’s footsteps are continuing this tradition through technique and technology. New technology has become an important part of the practice’s makeup, with one payoff in mind: patient satisfaction.

“Even though we all have a lot of experience and education, there is always a learning curve and a training curve when it comes to technology,” Dr. Fraiman says. “Everything we’re doing now is helping with the goal of us becoming even better dentists, but our first goal is always to provide a better experience for the patient.”

Amsterdam Dental Group
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Two Office Locations
100 S. Broad Street, Suite 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19110
Phone: 215-568-8130

1800 E. Lancaster Pike
Paoli, PA 19301
Phone: 610-651-5611

Photograph by Jeff Anderson