By Mark A. Hanna DMD
Business people are always searching for new ways to expand their horizons. Even as a new dentist, investing in new technology has been my priority. As a result, Cone-Beam imaging has had a positive impact on my practice—on diagnostic capabilities, on expanding in-house procedures, and on my patients.
For diagnostics, having a 3-D scan is like having X-ray vision. Without performing surgery, it is not possible to detect anatomical anomalies, hidden nerve canals or nerves extended in unusual directions, impacted teeth, supernumerary teeth, or hard-to-see infections. My Gendex medium field-of-view scanner offers a range of scan sizes ranging from 8 or 14 cm diameter and with a height from 2 to 8 cm, and anything in between. I can capture a single arch, both arches, or expand to include the TMJ.
With these insights, I am confident enough to expand my treatment choices. During a yearlong residency at the Misch Implant Institute in Michigan, I learned how 3-D scans provide information about tooth positions and shapes, and precise measurement of teeth and bone. Having a view of the angulation of teeth and the position of nerves from any angle makes positioning implants less complicated and less stressful.
The system’s built-in 2-D pan captures other necessary views, without needing a separate machine. Before I invested in the Gendex CBCT, I needed to send my patients out for a 3-D scan. This required that they had to take more time away from their work and waste gas money. Even more importantly, an in-office Cone-Beam scanner exposes the patient to as much as 10 times less radiation than medical CT scans,—or even less— depending upon the resolution needed for certain views.
In order for patients to accept my recommendations, they must comprehend my reasons for treatment. I have positioned my flat-screen monitor right next to the scanner, so when the patient is still seated in the machine, he/she can see when the scan appears on the screen. When I can slice or rotate the scan 360 degrees, they are very impressed. When a 3-D scan depicts a tooth precariously near a nerve canal, the patient can understand the risks of complications. For colleague consultations, the scans can be quickly and simply shared either by electronic transfer or CD.
After news spread about my Cone-Beam system, oral surgeons began referring patients for scans, which built good relationships and added to the scanner’s potential profitability. With the recent recession, I am thankful that I have this system and am able to expand my procedure offerings.
Building my business and learning new techniques for treatments are two very important parts of my future success. Along with expanding my horizons, Cone-Beam technology has dawned a new day for my own professional enrichment.
Dr. Hanna received his DMD from the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, MA and his BA in Psychology from Boston University. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, and the Massachusetts Dental Society.