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The Last Piece of My Technology Puzzle

Issue: Fall 2012
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My old panoramic machine (Gendex Panelipse®) was a trusted workhorse and the last piece of equipment in my office that was not in a digital format. Imaging technology had advanced, and I was ready to invest in a digital panoramic X-ray that will reduce radiation exposure, is flexible enough to have different projections, and doesn’t use traditional film to produce a higher quality image. My research led me to a model that also has a 3D component (Gendex GXDP-700™), increasing its value to my patients and practice.

My patients are grateful for the tools I have to treat them more appropriately.

I knew that the new pan-3D system was going to be of great help in placing implants, but after using it a few times and realizing the benefit of seeing my patient’s anatomy in three dimensions, I no longer felt comfortable using my older film pans for implant cases because that modality did not provide the quality diagnostic information necessary for accurate diagnosis and planning.

I like options in imaging. One way I am able to reduce radiation exposure to my patients is to utilize the wide variety of 2D pan projections. For example, if I only need to verify progress of the mandibular right quadrant, I can select a half- orthogonal projection from the variety of those available. Adding the 3D option allows me, as a general dentist, to expand the scope of my practice. I can capture a volume of information that I need to confidently place implants, appropriately and accurately prepare for extractions, perform root evaluations, solve “mystery endo” cases, and to obtain anatomical documentation for collaboration between specialists and me. Consulting doctors are also very grateful to have such detailed information. Many times I have received an X-ray copy from another office that was very difficult, if not impossible, to read. When I electronically send a pan or scan, I know that the specialist is seeing the same quality image that I am.

Dr. Bryan Couch and his GXDP-700

My patients are grateful for the tools I have to treat them more appropriately. Patients are so familiar with computers and smartphones that they are comfortable with this new technology and with viewing their scans on the computer screen. In the past, when I was trying to explain an implant case or other conditions on a film pan, some patients almost seemed to tune me out or not quite “get it.” Now, with a crisp 2D digital pan image or 3D scans on a large monitor, it’s not scary or intimidating. I can zoom in on the quality image, point out even the smallest details, and in the case of 3D scans, slice and rotate the images to gain the right perspective for education.

My new pan-3D unit gives me confidence and predictable diagnostics, which result in better treatment. Since I already had a digital intraoral X-ray (DEXIS®), CAD/CAM digital impressions (E4D™), and digital cameras, it was a piece of my technology puzzle that I was missing. Now, all of my equipment is compatible and works harmoniously with my practice management software (DENTRIX®), CAD/CAM’s software (E4D Compass™), and 3D CBCT imaging software (Anatomage Invivo5). Armed with these integrated technologies, I can offer my patients the same degree of accuracy and appropriate care.