By Arthur I. Schwartz DMD, FACD, FICD
My office has been computerized since 1985, with digital imaging implemented in 2004. In-office 3-D scans were the next logical step, so that I could obtain information unavailable from 2-D methods. With my increasing focus on implants and implant preparation, the GXCB-500 HD from Gendex has added a dimension to my practice that allows it to grow on many levels.
The data gained from 3-D scans plays an important role in the implant process. CBCT views provide me with exact measurements, width and height of bone, root position, and tooth position in relation to the nerves and sinus. I easily take accurate measurements in any direction, and quickly compare the left and the right sides. All of the dental anatomy that I need is there in axial, sagittal, and cross-sectional views—with exceptional clarity and detail.
A CBCT scan is a prime teaching aid. I can scroll through all of the necessary views, rotating, enlarging, and zooming in on the scan to spotlight the dental anatomy that generates my treatment plan. With this, patients understand why implants can easily be placed in one area, but not in another. I can highlight and point out the inferior alveolar nerve or teach patients about sinus lifts. When they recognize their own dental anatomy, they understand and accept treatment more quickly. For even more efficiency, my treatment coordinator, Doreen, enters the treatment plan into our DENTRIX® software, as I speak with the patient. When collaboration is necessary, scans are also easy to send electronically or in disk form to referring partners.
In-office CBCT scans are exceptionally convenient. For years, I sent certain patients for medical CT scans, which, although necessary at the time, exposed the patient to extra radiation, additional expense, and the inconvenience of traveling to the hospital and scheduling extra appointments. After some research, I discovered that the Gendex medium-field-of-view machine was a great fit both physically and professionally. The system focuses on my region of interest, with 8-cm and 14-cm diameters, and heights ranging from 2 cm to 8 cm. The machine fits perfectly in the space formerly filled by my panoramic machine (the new system has a traditional 2-D pan built in), and is ergonomic for patients and staff. With our former pan unit, one of our shorter assistants had to stand on a step-stool to see the alignment lights. In the GXCB-500 HD, the stabilizing lights are clear, and easy to see, and the patient is seated, facing forward, easing alignment and reducing movement issues.
To get the most out of the 3-D experience, it is necessary to get acclimated to reading scans properly. Educational opportunities abound at webinars, seminars, local meetings, or classes such as those at the 3-D Imaging Institute sponsored by i-CAT and Gendex. To ensure a complete and correct diagnosis, I send the vast majority of my scans out to a maxillofacial radiologist. For those who read their own scans, I recommend establishing a good working relationship with an oral and maxillofacial radiologist, for the more complicated cases.
From feasible financing to training, the Henry Schein team worked to create a seamless process. Of all of our training experiences, our Gendex instructor was the best— knowledgeable, easy to communicate with, patient and intuitive. Paul Spang, Jr., my full-service representative, and the equipment manager, Michael Coletti, are quick to respond and “make things happen.”
Three-dimensional technology gives the dentist and the patient more confidence in treatment options and outcomes. It adds a new dimension, literally and figuratively, to radiography, to clinical practice, and has brought “futuristic” technology into my dental office, today.