Super Dentistry: How to increase efficiency and productivity in general dentistry?
This summary is based on the article published by Dental Economics: Increasing efficiency and productivity in general dentistry (October 2013)
By Dr. Guy Gross
“Super” dentistry: “By offering patients expanded options, we go above and beyond the usual scope of general dentistry, striving toward our goals of clinical excellence while keeping patients in-house and increasing productivity.”
“We use cone beam 3-D imaging to help us reach our goals with increased precision and confidence.” It offers a thorough analysis of bone structure, bone volume, and tooth orientation. For implants, software allows to see if the implant can be placed in its optimal position or if the site needs a graft first. This results in optimized diagnosis and treatment planning tools so that a realistic and understandable treatment plan can be presented to the patient. I often plan the implants alongside the patient.
To help plan for optimal orthodontic treatment, the scan shows root angulations that may be problematic from the start, supernumerary teeth, and other anatomical landmarks. The cephalometric analyses are now plotted very precisely in space due to the ability to rotate the image and “go inside” the skull. It is now possible to compile images into a virtual study model that shows roots, developing teeth, impactions, and alveolar bone. These can be shared with orthodontists to whom patients are referred.
Before starting endodontic treatment, the scan can determine the number of roots and canals, whether there are any “crazy” curvatures of those canals, and of course, apical lesions, which are often obscured by the maxillary sinus. It is possible to look at the canals from every possible viewpoint. In diagnosing root fractures, it is also possible to see the details of the area, such as bone loss or perforations from previously placed posts. This precise view makes a huge difference in terms of efficiency and predictability of the cases. It also makes the schedule much more predictable.
Dental Sleep Medicine
When working with sleep physicians and preparing to fabricate sleep appliances, the 3-D scans are used along with other criteria for screening and diagnostic purposes. For airway assessments, it is possible to see restricted airways and calculate detailed measurements. The 3-D data can be shared with the sleep treatment team. It is an excellent screening tool that facilitates great discussion with patients.
These highly detailed scans can be captured with minimal radiation exposure to patients, which is in itself a big plus.
While the ultimate goal may not be to make a profit on the scans themselves, the increased amount of detailed information definitely leads to more succinct diagnosis, better treatment planning, more case acceptance, increased patient education, and better compliance.
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