Advancements in intraoral scanner and 2D panoramic equipment technology along with the increased use of CBCT systems are key indicators that the analog to digital transition will continue to intensify in 2018. Carestream Dental’s chief dental officer, Edward Shellard, D.M.D., shares his vision for the future of digital dentistry.
Which digital tool has made the biggest difference in efficiency for your practice?
The decision to add a CBCT system to your practice is a big one, largely because of the capital required. It isn’t like integrating a new laptop or tablet into your workflow. This kind of investment calls for careful consideration—particularly in five areas.
1. Image resolution. The most important aspect of all: high image quality. Increasing your diagnostic capabilities is the number one reason to integrate CBCT technology into your practice in the first place. You need to be able to see your area of interest with unprecedented detail. But you also need to be able to adjust image quality with dose—so options for field of view are important.
2. Versatility. What if you invest in CBCT imaging today and—six months down the road—you decide you want the ability to do cephalometric scanning? It would be nice to have a system that could expand with your capabilities, instead of having to purchase a whole new system. You should be able to take advantage of updates to your system when they become available, like for airway analysis, integration with CAD/CAM or low dose imaging. Continue reading
The answer isn’t necessarily one or the other. It might be a combination of the two.
If you’ve decided to transition away from film, it’s important to look at all of the computed radiography and direct radiography options available in order to consider the pros and cons of each. It’s an important decision—you want it to be an informed one.
||· Not as high as digital radiography
||· Considered the best image quality and comparable to high-speed film in many cases, improving your diagnostic accuracy
|Speed of Acquisition
||· Faster than film, slower than digital, impacting workflow for inter-operative imaging and new patient /recall exams
||· Viewable in seconds, maximizing efficiency and productivity
||· Variable, because plates are consumed over time
· Easily damaged
|· No additional expense after initial purchase, other than warranty costs and disposable sheaths (because sensors are reusable and durable)
|Similarity to Film
||· Film-like workflow, reducing training
||· Entirely different workflow, although user friendly, making training necessary
|Quantity Needed for a Practice
||· One scanner; several plates, which can be used by more than one user at a time and later scanned
||· Several sensors of various sizes, depending on size of the practice and number of users
||· Available in more sizes than DR
||· Available in sizes 0, 1 and 2
||· Multi-size options
· Due to flexibility and thinness, considered more comfortable for small children and patients with anatomic limitations and/or strong gag reflexes
|· More comfortable than their predecessors (thanks to contoured design), but still may be intolerable for patients with anatomic limitations and/or strong gag reflexes
If you haven’t switched to digital radiography, it’s likely due to concerns like these:
- Operational challenges
- Staff retraining
The misconceptions about digital radiography dissuade many oral health professionals from making the transition. They focus on the immediate impact of equipment changes and stop there.
Do you fall into this category? If so, you may not realize the potential for digital radiography to advance your dental practice objectives.
|“Digital radiography isn’t worth the cost of computerizing my backend.”
If treatment rooms are not already computerized, adding digital radiography may seem like an expensive option.
|Two key points:
# 1 – Not all digital radiography products require a computerized operatory. For example, phosphor plate systems have a workflow similar to film but can develop images much faster and do not require a treatment room computer. Some digital sensors work with portable computing / display options, such as a tablet.
# 2 – Computerizing your back office and networking a good practice management system can actually reduce overall operational costs in many ways
|Don’t assume all digital radiography products won’t be adaptable to the technology level of your practice. If you aren’t planning to computerize your treatment rooms, ask about mobile solutions or digital radiography products with a workflow similar to film.
|“Digital sensors are big, bulky and hard to position.”
Many dentists are afraid that digital intraoral sensors are harder to position than film and are more uncomfortable for their patients.
|Today’s digital intraoral sensors come in a variety of sizes and can capture a wide range of images. They’re designed for comfort and easy placement.
|Look for sensors that:
– Come in different sizes
– Can capture different types of images
– Have positioning systems that facilitate placement
|“Digital radiography is too expensive.”
Some practices are hesitant to purchase digital radiography products because the initial costs are higher than film radiography’s.
|The upfront cost of digital radiography is more than film. However, this is a one-time expense. And, if you consider the savings in time and consumables (film/chemicals), you may discover that you actually spend less in the long run.
||Compare your yearly spend on film/chemicals to the cost of digital radiography equipment. Depending on how many images you capture annually, you may save by making the switch.
What are your concerns about digital radiography? Or if you’ve already made the switch to digital, what advice do you have for practitioners who haven’t? Continue reading
To understand what oral health professionals should look for in 2017, we asked a number of experts about their opinions on this year’s trends. This is what Ed Shellard, D.M.D., Carestream Dental’s vice president of sales and marketing, had to say:
Advancements in digital dentistry make each year more exciting than the last. As we look ahead, 2017 will be no different. In addition to growing digital trends, we’ll also see a new business structure emerge. Let’s take a more detailed look at how oral health care might be different in 2017
Intraoral scanning will continue to grow in the upcoming years. While there may be certain cases where taking traditional impressions is necessary, 3D intraoral scanning is more comfortable for patients and more convenient for practices and labs. The growth of 3D intraoral scanning is the first step in digitizing the restorative workflow. While chairside milling is important, larger numbers of practitioners are choosing to defer the purchase of a mill until they are comfortable with the implementation of the 3D intraoral scanner. Fortunately, “open” scanners make it easy for doctors to work with labs. Continue reading
If you’re already using digital radiography (DR) in your practice, you might wonder: What’s the point of adding computed radiography (CR) when I already have sensors to accommodate patients of all shapes and sizes?
The point is that not every patient can comfortably handle a sensor. Some find the sensor so bothersome—especially for bitewings on a patient with large mandibular tori—that they can’t remain immobile long enough to take a good radiograph. This could prevent you from getting a high-quality image, and, therefore, inhibit your diagnosing capabilities. Having a CR system available enables you to ensure your patient’s comfort without sacrificing image quality.
So your next question might be: What’s the learning curve for a CR system?
As it turns out, surprisingly short, if you choose the right one. Continue reading
As 2015 draws to a close, it’s natural to reflect on the year and examine how things might be done differently in the next. What worked, what didn’t and what can doctors do to make 2016 even better than 2015? With that in mind, here are the top New Year’s resolutions for oral health care professionals.
To understand what dentists should look for in 2015, we asked a number of experts about their opinions on this year’s trends. This is what Dr. Edward Shellard had to say:
- From a restorative dentistry perspective, I see a rise in chairside milling. Thanks to the popularity of CAD/CAM systems, I think doctors are beginning to realize the benefits of performing restorations within the practice—not just for their patients, but for their bottom line.
- Intraoral scanning will also become bigger in 2015. While there may be certain cases where taking traditional impressions is necessary, you can’t argue that 3D intraoral scanning is more comfortable for patients and more convenient for practices and labs. Along those same lines, I think we will see a merger of 3D intraoral data sets with CBCT date for implant planning and placement. Continue reading
For dentists, the health and safety of their patients is of paramount importance—not only for maintaining a trusting relationship, but also for shielding them from potential sources of cross-contamination and possible infection. As such, proper sterilization is critical when it comes to controlling the cross contamination of bacteria throughout the dental operatory. By following best practices for sterilization, dental professionals can reduce the spread of infectious diseases to themselves, patients and practice staff.
As intraoral scanners increase in popularity, more questions arise regarding the correct sterilization procedure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, as released by the American Dental Association (ADA), intraoral scanners tips are a member of the semicritical category, as the tip comes into contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin due to the nature of restorations. Continue reading
As part of my regular column in Dental Economics, I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. David Little out of San Antonio, Texas. As an implant dentist, cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is very important when it comes to Dr. Little’s treatment planning and evaluation. However, his experience in selecting a unit was a little different than most dental professionals, as he operates a multi-disciplinary practice and had to consider the needs of all specialists during the buying process (spoiler alert: he ended up choosing the CS 9000 3D system).
Read the article in Dental Economics to learn more about how 3D imaging helped Dr. Little with:
- treatment planning;
- practice return-on-investment; and
- case acceptance.
Be sure to check back in June to read my interview with Dr. Mark Setter, a leading periodontist out of Metro Detroit.