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Better Patient Care Starts with Better Imaging

The goal of my dental clinic is to listen to patients' opinions and provide each patient with a unique, caring, comfortable and clinically appropriate dental supplies . Dentistry is our enthusiasm, and actively changing people’s lives is our pleasure! Digital dental X-ray and imaging technologies, including intra-oral X-ray and cone-beam 3D, as well as digital models, have played an important role in achieving our goals.

In 2010, I decided to turn my dental clinic into a digital office without figures. I chose to implement the Dentrix® Practice Management Plan as my best choice. My next step is to find a digital imaging system that integrates seamlessly with Dentrix and has excellent images. We tested some intraoral systems and I tried all the sensors. At the end of the search, we chose DEXIS®. I like the fact that we can use a single size sensor without having to deal with a variety of different sizes of sensors and brackets. And, when the unique shape of the sensor made me feel most comfortable, I knew it would be very comfortable for my patients. We found the sensors to be very durable - we use a sensor for three operating rooms for almost four years each day. Direct USB is a very handy property - we simply plug it directly into the computer and take a clear image that is instantly displayed on the display for the patient to read with me. In addition to the special image quality that helped me diagnose, the patients were impressed by our ability to reduce the radiation dose through DEXIS - which really helped them.

DEXIS also provides useful image management and enhancement tools. I think one of the best aspects of the software is the ability to easily extract images of different dates on the same screen and compare these enlarged X-ray photos for education. For example, the patient returned to my office after a final date of one year. During this period, she developed large lesions due to external absorption. The patient asked, “How is this possible? I was here a year ago.” It was wonderful to be able to present an image a year ago and compare it side-by-side with the current image. Both of us understand that this disease has occurred during the course of the year. In this approach, we spent a lot of time on patient education. When people can imagine their physical problems, they will make better choices.

Comprehensive 3D information for better control of scan dose and size
In addition to my two-dimensional imaging system, I recently invested in CBCT for my office. I am no stranger to this model. In fact, since I had to send patients to a local hospital for scanning in the early 1990s, I have used CT scans for implant planning. Then, in 2006, I combined my first i-CAT® cone-beam 3D system with an orthodontist, combined with CBCT imaging in the office. The buildings in his office are far from my practice. We had to drive to scan the patient there, but the amount of detail we received from the scans was worth it. However, the convenience of my office without this imaging method is frustrating.

For years, I have been studying CBCT and I am pleased to note that some companies are reducing the evolution of radiation levels. In my research, I explored several different brands of units. The salesman finally said: "This is how we compare with i-CAT." Everyone seems to know who is the "top dog" - even my dental laboratory for implantation plans!

Fast and easy image comparison for patient education
They noticed that i-CAT provided the best and most consistent image, so I decided to invest in i-CAT® FLX. For implant patients, having the ability to scan the edentulous area of ​​the patient is incredible, and then
Use my digital impression system to determine where exactly to place the implant's relationship with other teeth without the traditional impression. I can also use CBCT data to generate surgical guides.

My CAT helps my referring clinician and I plan more accurately. A recent case I shared with a periodontal patient involved an 18-year-old woman who required coronary protraction. We performed an i-CAT FLX scan of the tooth model and an intraoral 3D image and superimposed the tooth model on the scan to show the surgeon and surgeon soft and hard tissue. With this information, he said that he could make a better decision and decide whether to remove the bone structure or do a gum resection. This plan with my colleagues is amazing.

In my opinion, what keeps i-CAT FLX away from competition is its flexibility and control of radiation dose and scan size. For young patients referred by other doctors to assess the airway, I can control their anatomy through i-CAT without exposing them to excessive radiation. Since I found it helpful to check the patient's airway opening with an appliance, I could use QuickScan + and knew that I had less full 3D information than the 2D platform.

Sleep dentistry is another important aspect of my practice. My imaging protocol usually involves using a 3D scan to check the temporomandibular joint to assess any preexisting disease. Sleeping dental equipment appliances can advance the mandible, which can cause pain in some of these patients. I want to know these details and educate them to solve possible problems. As mentioned above, pain and TMJ patients can also be scanned and can also be used for prosthetic cases and Invisalign® surgery.

I believe that digital imaging can help clinicians become better diagnosers and patient educators when used responsibly. This improved diagnosis and subsequent treatment can improve dental care, better compliance and acceptance of treatment plans. Although I cannot change the entire world of my patients, I can try to improve some of them when I relieve the pain of TMD or help them get good sleep with new appliances. Knowing that I can provide this level of care also helps me sleep better at night.

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