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    Using the i-CAT FLX to improve treatment acceptance

    How one dentist uses this CBCT system as a tool to educate his patients.

    How one dentist uses this CBCT system as a tool to educate his patients.

    Christopher Hoffpauir, DDS, is a relatively new dentist. Perhaps that explains his zeal for what he does. He calls himself an oral physician and likens his diagnostics with his early technology to Christopher Columbus’s poorly understood route to the New World.

    “Before I had the CBCT, it’s like the earth was flat,” he explains.

    That’s because his panoramic X-ray just wasn’t doing the job his cone beam CT does now — but he had no idea.
    “There’s an old saying, ‘You don’t know what you’ve been missing until you find it,’” he says.

    Dr. Hoffpauir uses the i-CATTM FLX as a screening device and also as a tool to help with treatment planning and case acceptance. He’s even caught a few cases that turned out to be cancer by identifying anomalies and sending patients to get biopsies.

    Related article: i-CAT FLX V-Series provides an upgradeable solution

    “We use it for airway assessment and as a tool to help the patient understand,” he says. “A lot of the airway has to do with the intraoral and extraoral signs that you see on examination, but you can’t give the patient an idea of the severity of the problem until they’re shown the airway. When they can see that the airway is constricted, they understand better that they may really have a problem.”


    Dr. Hoffpauir also uses the i-CAT FLX for implant dentistry in his practice, from assessing the site to placing the implant through guided or freehand surgery.

    “It saves me a lot of time,” he says. “Whenever I’m planning an implant case, I’ll pull up a 3D skull and tell the patient, ‘This is you and this is the tooth you’re missing.’ I’ll tell them that if someone’s not using this technology to place their implant, they could damage their nerves here. I’ll show them how to highlight their nerves in the skull, and I’ll measure 2 mm from it and say, ‘This is the safe distance, so we want to make sure your implant sits in this space with as much bone around it as possible and in a position where we can put a tooth on it.’ And then I’ll drop an implant in and we’ll go through a couple of different sizes and I’ll say, ‘I think this is the right implant for you. I think this one’s going to work really well.’”

    He’ll then show the patient a 3D printout of his or her jaw and do a virtual surgery on it, paired with a 3D-printed guide to show him or her that the appropriate degrees of angulation and the correct depth are marked.

    “Saying, ‘We’re going to be able to keep you really safe and we’ll make sure that everything’s going to work before we place the implant,’ is really powerful in selling implants to people and convincing them to do the treatment because it really gives you a lot of authority,” he says. “You’re sitting here and showing them this skull and how you’re going to place the implant and you’re showing them all the things that go into the consideration.”

    The i-CAT FLX also helps Dr. Hoffpauir with simpler cases.

    “With Tx STUDIO, you can actually go in and place a crown on that implant, then turn it around and say, ‘This is what your tooth is going to look like,’” he says. “Not only does it truly keep your patients safe, but it’s an amazing tool for education and for getting patients to move to ‘yes’ when it comes to treatment.

    “Sales is a dirty word in dentistry, but the truth is that no matter what your skills are or how many CE courses you’ve done or how many implants you’ve placed, if you’re not able to get your patient to move to ‘yes,’ then you’re no good to them,” he adds. “You can’t help them solve their problems.”

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