"Winging" It With Technology— More Time For What Matters

By Dr. Michael Wing

That’s my boy!

Figure 1. My pot of gold! This is a bag of blocks I milled with my E4D. I save the mandrels as a reminder of the number of teeth we have restored.

And, that’s who I want to be with, along with the rest of my family when I am not with my patients. The incorporation of technology into my practice has given me more time for what matters and more money for what doesn’t matter as much.

I practice in Eagle, Colorado. It’s a small town in the mountains, which can present its own set of challenges but it can also present incredible opportunities when you can separate yourself from the rest. Differentiation provides market advantages regardless of city size—large or small—different is noticed. I pride myself on running a high-tech dental office that produces high-quality dentistry. I know and understand that my patients want quality, convenience, and efficiency when they come to see me. I also want my time to be lucrative because, let’s face it, this life is not getting any cheaper. I find that I can save time and money for both my patients and my practice by providing single-visit restorations using the latest in digital technology.

It seems everyone is talking about digital impression systems and the term CAD/CAM is commonplace in dentistry (but not in the operatory). Although all of the talk about digital-impression systems seems to offer some convenience (no impression material, eliminate gagging, etc.)

Figure 2. Scan of missing tooth and implant site number 20.

Practice and Life Changing

Four years ago I purchased an E4D and after milling and seating over 3,000 restorations, I’m here to tell you this thing works and it works well. So let’s do the math: 3,000 times an average fee of $950 (my C&B fee) equals $2,850,000 dollars. I can say that this is a conservative number for what my E4D has produced in revenue for me; in fact I am sure it is well over $3,000,000 when you count all the other procedures and new patients just having an E4D has provided (Figure 1). And, the opportunities never stop; the mill doesn’t quit or need vacation and maintenance visits are done quarterly—right in the office. It just doesn’t matter whether I do one restoration a day or six. Believe me, this technology provides you more revenue without compromise—I’ve seen no compromise in my quality of care or restorations (form, fit, function, esthetics) and certainly no compromise in the bottom line, in fact, the E4D allows me to expand my capabilities like no other—and my technology capabilities continue to expand.

The E4D Dentist system has changed my life and my patients’ experience in an exponential way.

Phase Two

Now I am moving into phase two of that technology and integrating the use of cone beam technology with my CAD/CAM technology—all thanks again to E4D. Using my i-CAT® (Next Generation 3D cone beam system) combined with the E4D Dentist system, I can now present a solution to my patients for their edentulous area using the E4D Compass software right on my cart (chairside).

Figure 3. Digital restoration of number 20.

The i-CAT was my most recent acquisition, and I can tell you that the patients who are interested in implants are not leaving my office looking for another provider to place their implants for them after I am able to graphically present all that I’m planning with them. With the E4D system, I can scan the edentulous area (Figure 2), design the ideal restoration (Figure 3) then combine that information with the cone beam data in E4D Compass. From there, I can detail with the patient what implant size I plan on using, the implant’s location, abutment height, and angle and, of course, the look and size of the final restoration. Now my patients can see all of this on one screen. I can map the nerve for them and then demonstrate quality and quantity of bone. I can show my patients the location of the implant as it relates the to the rest of their anatomy (Figure 4). This is not a plastic model, make-believe situation, or cartoon, it’s their anatomy right in front of their very own eyes, showing both above the tissue (E4D scan) and below the tissue (i-CAT scan).

Figure 4. All on one screen: shown here as the final plan for tooth 20.

After showing them the plan and telling them how this will provide us a preview of what to expect, I am able to capture their confidence and get them to book that implant placement right away. After receiving an okay from the patient, I simply order up a surgical guide using the data directly from the i-CAT and a conventional impression and we are on our way to highly predictable implant treatment. E4D Compass sells more cases and better yet, it involves the educated patient in the process. I am now able to provide a whole new world of service to my small town patient population and not send them on a two-hour drive through the often-stormy mountains of Colorado. My patients are continually thanking me for this technology and believe it or not, implant placement does not have to be a stressful unplanned event if you have the right tools! It reminds me of a movie from the 1980s—Fast Times At Ridgemont High— when Spicoli tells his buddies not to worry about fixing the car he just wrecked because his dad has an awesome set of tools he can use to fix it. Technology in dentistry has equipped us with an awesome set of tools (E4D Dentist, i-CAT) to fix the issues. Now with the treatment planning visuals, the E4D Compass software, you can treatment plan the implant or collaborate with your surgical team so that you can actually restore that implant based upon the plan.

i-CAT Next Generation 3D cone beam system

My buddy says you can’t score if you don’t shoot–if we want a productive practice we must plant seeds that will bear new fruit and continue to grow professionally so that we will attract and retain our patients. “He who wants to be the greatest will find a way to serve the many”…why not allow technology help you serve others? Our greatest task is serving our patients well and giving them something great to take home. Let E4D expand your services and professional opportunities by implementing CAD/CAM technology and together with cone beam technology— allow you to serve the many more efficiently and effectively and that is true return on investment.

For more information how technology can fly your practice, contact Dr. Michael Wing at dr.wing@yahoo.com or contact your Henry Schein Dental Sales Consultant.