3D – For a Forward-Looking Practice

By Norberto Velázquez, DMD

My practice aspirations are to provide more dental options for my patients. This practice, operated by my wife Dr. Laura Davila and me, needs the most up-to-date technology to be able to offer treatment such as implants and orthodontics. At the implant course, I met John Kuzman with Gendex, and discussed their new pan-ceph-3D unit and how it fits with my practice goals.

“Besides the benefits that I gain from 3D imaging, my patients benefit from increased understanding of their individual dental issues and my treatment plan.”

Why does a general practice need 3D imaging? Three-dimensional imaging takes away many variables in the dental equation. Laura and I want the confidence of seeing the various anatomical structures, relationships between adjacent teeth, location of nerves, the angulation of roots, and the amount of available bone before starting implant or orthodontic processes. With the surgical view that I gain by having 3D scans, my procedures are less invasive, and in some cases, I can avoid additional surgeries. Before I had the knowledge that comes with CBCT, I would tell my patients, “I am going to try to do your implants today, but we need to find enough bone.” Then, I would open a flap, and only at that point know if the patient actually had enough bone to support the implant. If not, we would have to graft that day instead of placing the implant. This would be a disappointment to both me and the patient. CBCT gives me this information ahead of time.

Besides the benefits that I gain from 3D imaging, my patients benefit from increased understanding of their individual dental issues and my treatment plan. The patients are amazed that they are looking at a 3D model of their mouth and that I can capture such a data-filled scan in just a matter of seconds.

With all of the complex technology that it probably took to develop a CBCT, it is surprisingly simple to learn and operate. My Henry Schein Sales Consultant, David Johnson, has been an incredible help getting the machine in place. We have a great relationship with our sales consultants. Training was seamless— 11⁄2 days, and the staff learned quickly how to use the system to take both pans and 3D scans. My office staff also learned how easily they can position the patient, and change from the 2D panoramic mode to the 3D mode. The touchscreen is easy to understand, which makes choosing imaging selections quick and easy. They were particularly impressed with the 3D preview screen that ensures the scan will capture the area of interest that I want.

Another benefit of my new system is that we were able to eliminate our panoramic film, so we do not need to use chemicals to process those types of images. This is one more step toward achieving full digital radiography. We hope to add the ceph to our unit in the near future. Since
I also already have an E4D milling machine, I also plan to integrate it
with my CBCT for even further progress with implant procedures.

For an office like mine that wants to offer more to patients, having a 3D system is a most valuable tool. Choosing a system that also includes a 2D pan is even more practical. For detailed data, flexibility, and versatility, I am very happy to be one of the first dentists to have the opportunity to use the GXDP-700. I now feel better prepared to face the challenges of implant procedures without facing the “unknown challenges” after the patient is already in treatment.