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Technologies That Show I Care

Issue: Winter 2010
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It helps people reunite with family and friends and helps professional relationships blossom across international borders. In my practice, technology has connected me with my existing and prospective patients, and has literally given them the opportunity to hold their future dental health in their own hands.

The beauty of all of this is that this technology—my DEXIS® digital X-ray system—has already brought benefits on a clinical level. Digital radiography represented a great evolution, from postage-stamp-size film X-rays to full-screen images displayed on computer monitors. With the introduction of the DEXIS Platinum sensor, X-ray capture became more comfortable for my patients, and the images gained even more clarity and definition.

DEXIS and iPad: Another level of communication

For me, much of the value of technology is measured by how it affects my patient’s experience. So, I was thrilled to find a way to open up the conversation about their diagnosis and treatment even more by combining two complementary technologies—my digital X-ray and my iPad™. I first got an iPad to show educational dental “apps” on topics such as gum disease and crowns. I don’t like leaving patients alone in the room watching a video, and I was looking for something new that would spark their interest. Because of the opportunity for patient education that my DEXIS system provides, I wanted to find more ways to incorporate it into the diagnostic experience. I decided to try the LogMeIn® Ignition Pro Version app for the iPad that connects me at my chairside computer with the handheld device that the patient can hold in his/her lap.

When I bring up digital images on the computer, the patient sees them on the iPad simultaneously, and as I use my mouse to draw on the image on my computer, the patient can see this on the iPad as well. With the DEXIS imaging hub, I can show them before and after photographs, digital images, including intra- and extra-oral photographs and even digital X-rays of various types of dental conditions, bringing the “photo album in the waiting room” concept into my operatory and communication to a higher level than ever before. I can compare veneers to their natural teeth, and see how well they will match. DEXIS’ “Spotlight” feature helps to point out bone loss and caries. The patient accepts the treatment plan, not because of my authoritativeness or even because they trust me, but because they understand and can make an informed decision. This “co-discovery,” encouraged by the digital images and the iPad, seals my message and fulfills expectations for doctor and patient.

Word about my technologies has spread, mostly by patient referrals and through my Web site. Because of the level of detail offered by a digital system, my second-opinion patients have grown as well. Even in this tough economy, my patient base has grown, and I continue to search for ways to reach them though such innovations as digital and computer technologies. My patients know that my investments in special equipment stem from my concern about their dental health. I’m not just talking about it. I don’t just create an image (for my practice or my patients); I deliver it, right into their hands.