By Guy Gross, DDS
When selecting advanced technology for your practice, return on investment takes both a financial and clinical meaning. In my general dental practice, properly selected technology gives me greater accuracy and thus, greater confidence in providing more specialized services to my patients, including dental implants, orthodontics, hard and soft tissue grafting, and sleep disorder-related procedures. Serving this broad range of dental needs precipitated an investment in Cone Beam 3D technology, and I chose the i-CAT. This imaging method has dramatically changed how my practice approaches diagnosis, and it is so important to my diagnosis and treatment planning that it is now a part of my routine protocol.
I look at my investment in i-CAT 3D imaging as a step toward providing world-class dentistry in my practice. The information from the scans helps me to proceed responsibly with procedures that I otherwise might not have attempted or would have had less confidence in at the beginning of the process. I honestly didn’t realize how much it would help me in this area until I experienced it.
With an i-CAT scan, I can look really closely at the roots of wisdom teeth before I start any treatment planning and see things that would not be visible on a periapical X-ray or pano. For example, on a 2D image, sometimes it appears as if the root of a lower third molar is right down into the mandibular canal, but on a 3D scan, it is apparent that the tooth is quite a distance lingual or buccal to that canal. I can treat the patient more accurately based on this information. I have no concerns about not seeing a dilacerated root prior to treatment either.
The single biggest benefit that I have found is when planning implants. I can look my patients in the eye and tell them if we will be able to place the implant without having to make an incision or use sutures. I can say, “We are going to use a microsurgical technique, and you will hardly notice that the implant has been placed.” I see the bone before I start any procedure, and I know if I need to reflect the tissue back, place a graft, or use a certain type of membrane or not. This helps to increase case acceptance for implants because it takes away the patients’ fear about the unknown and puts them at ease.
Another advantage to i-CAT Cone Beam 3D imaging is that I control the balance of image quality I need with radiation dose. The patients trust me to provide responsible care. Once they see the amount of detailed information that the scan provides, they are confident that I am planning treatment in an advanced way for them. Even better, I am viewing vastly greater amounts of information with less radiation exposure than when I had to take X-rays with my old pano machine.
I look at my investment in i-CAT 3D imaging as a step toward providing world-class dentistry in my practice.
I create my treatment plans using the Tx STUDIO™ software, which also helps to educate patients on what I plan to do and why. With Tx STUDIO tools, I can plan the implants right in front of them, show them where the implant will be located, and virtually place it on the screen — my patients respond favorably to seeing our proposed plan. I love my i-CAT and Tx STUDIO software, and think it is the best in the market with excellent quality image and clean images. The tools are easy to use, and they make it easy to train my team members. That is why I chose i-CAT over any other Cone Beam 3D system.
To me, 3D imaging and i-CAT technology are game changers — for patient education, for expanded treatment options, and for greater opportunities for treatment success. That, to me, is the ultimate return on investment. The amount we charge for the scans pays for the machine, and the information we get from the scans makes our practice financially and clinically successful.
About the Author: Guy W. Gross, DDS, graduated with honors from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. He has dedicated himself to advanced training in areas such as cosmetic dentistry, endodontics, implantology, occlusion, and periodontics by attending advanced courses while in dental school.