Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) wasn’t for me—it was for the “big dogs,” the oral surgeons, those doing All-on-X cases. I was a general practitioner in a small, 1100-square-foot office. I had four operatories total, and 70% of my patients had preferred-provider-organization insurance. Back then, I was in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Spear® center for training in CEREC®. Walking around the facility, I would often see the Galileos® Implant software on display: a rotating 3-dimensional (3D) image of the skull, inferior alveolar nerve mapping, implant planning, and more—impressive, but as I stated, not for me. Besides, I wasn’t placing implants at the time.
When I spoke with referring surgeons who told me to “take a closed-tray impression” or “grab a transfer coping” of the case they were referring back to me, I’d say, “No problem,” hang up the phone, and then quickly do some online research. I didn’t even have the vocabulary to understand what they were saying. YouTube was my friend.
As a CEREC user, I spent quite a bit of time in the online forum. I saw numerous posts by doctors across the country who not only used their CBCT to place implants, but also were discovering endodontic failing, sinus pathologies, and other significant findings they may otherwise have missed. Even without placing implants in my practice, I saw the impact CBCT could have. “Maybe someday,” I thought.
A few years later, I decided to start placing implants—and almost quit as soon as I began. After my first non-guided implant placement that should have been a slam dunk, I knew that I couldn’t incorporate implants into my practice by just eyeballing it. I decided to go all in. I contacted my Dentsply Sirona representative and ordered my Orthophos® XG 3D.
Four years have passed, and I can’t imagine practicing without it. I know of no other technology that raises the level of care in your practice. Nothing like 3D can affect so many facets of your practice from day one. You see more, diagnose more, and do more. Ultimately, you provide better, safer, faster, and more effective treatment for your patients.
The most common statement I hear regarding why someone doesn’t have a CBCT is that it is expensive. Yes, it is. So was your dental education and the practice you built or purchased. They are investments, do not forget. Although it is a cliché: my only regret is not adopting the technology sooner.
About the Author: Dr. Hernandez earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Southern California. While in California, Dr. Hernandez was involved with numerous local and international dental volunteer projects, earning him a 2005 Humanitarian Award. Since 2008, Dr. Hernandez has maintained a private practice in Nashville and is now one of only 5 CEREC Mentors in the state of Tennessee.