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Why one general dentist decided to invest in this CBCT scanner for his practice
Dr. Terry Work is a general dentist who goes beyond the scope of “general” to offer root canals, place implants and conduct airway evaluations. It was for these reasons that he first considered purchasing a cone beam CT scanner for his practice.
Dr. Work has been using the OP 3D from KaVo for about five months; he used the OP 300 for years before that. With plenty of experience with this particular CBCT scanner under his belt, he now travels to dental conferences like the Greater New York Dental Meeting to talk to other dentists about why it might be a good idea for them to invest in this piece of equipment.
“A lot of times their first question is, ‘Was it worth the investment?’ And, ‘Does it support itself?’” he says. “The answer is absolutely.”
Benefits of the OP 3D
Dr. Work says that the OP 3D has generated more treatment and decreased overall treatment time in his practice.
“When you place an implant, you have a higher level of certainty as to what you’re going into,” he says. “The placement of the implant happens more quickly and efficiently, so you’re saving chair time.”
The OP 3D also presents the practice as cutting-edge, a place where the practitioner aims to do as much as he or she can to identify and treat health issues in patients. Patients appreciate that extra step, along with not having to travel to a separate scan center.
The OP 3D allows dentists to keep more of the cases that they would have referred previously. But Dr. Work says the machine is beneficial even for doctors who don’t want to take on all of the extra, more complicated cases.
“If you do take an image and you find that it’s something you’re not comfortable handling, you can download the cone beam scan and send the patient to the specialist with the scan so that the specialist doesn’t have to take it,” he says.
Having these images available proves effective for patient education, too.
“If I show them what I’m looking at, then they’re more likely to get the treatment quickly because they understand the urgency of getting it done,” he explains. “With all of those things added together, the return on the investment is pretty much immediate. It’s one of those things that I waited to get, and then once I got it, I thought I should have gotten it sooner.”
What Dr. Work uses it for
Many doctors ask Dr. Work how he uses this CBCT scanner in his general dental practice.
“Let’s say a person comes in and we do a full series of radiographs and we notice there is something going on in a particular area, but we can’t tell what exactly,” he says. “By taking the cone beam scan, it gives me a three-dimensional picture of that area. I can spin it around and see, for example, a root canal that was infected. I can see the degree of the infection.”
Another scenario in which he uses the machine is to follow up on a defect that was identified during periodontal probing.
“If you take a scan of that area, it maps out the architecture of the bone, so you can see exactly how bad that lesion is,” he says.
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Working with Kavo Kerr
Once Dr. Work identified a need for a CBCT scanner in his practice, he began shopping around. He looked at his options and consulted colleagues about the machines they used. Then, he turned to his dental supply company, which connected him with reps at a few different companies.
“I generally go with a company who talks about how good their machine is, not how bad someone else’s is,” he says. “So, whenever a company gives out the name of people who’ve recently bought equipment, you understand that they feel good about their interactions and their ability to educate people on their machine.”
Now, Dr. Work is one of the names Kavo Kerr gives out, and he only has good things to say about the company.
“Not only did Kavo Kerr get us a good product, but the support has been really good,” he says. “It’s only a phone call away. If I ever had a question, I could call tech support and they’ll remote in to the computer.
“It’s not just getting the machine at a reasonable cost; it’s about supporting you after you get it so you continue to feel good about your purchase,” he adds.
Deciding to make an investment
How does a general dentist know if a CBCT scanner is the right investment for his or her practice?
“If it’s someone right out of school who doesn’t place implants or do root canals or take out wisdom teeth, I tell them it might not be the time for them to invest the kind of money because I don’t know that they’ll be able to use it,” Dr. Work explains. “But if they have some experience with those things and they feel like they’re missing out by referring treatment, it helps you gain confidence in your abilities. You may start out by taking the scans and then referring patients to specialists. But as you get more familiar with what’s going on, you feel more confident keeping those procedures in-house (after education, obviously).”
Dr. Work says it was his sense of responsibility to his patients that motivated him to add a CBCT scanner to his repertoire.
“I always say that technology that makes me a better dentist is the best technology,” he says. “This definitely does. For planning purposes, whether it’s implant planning or to retreat endo or wisdom teeth removal or airway evaluation, this thing really helps me streamline treatment and educate the patients on their needs. They’re more likely to get the treatment when they see the kind of things that we’re looking at.
“Previously, I would have a picture or illustration that was similar to my patient’s case, and I would show them and try to explain what was going on,” he continues. “But now, I sit down with them in a consultation room and show them an actual picture of their bone with a big hole in it from a failing root canal or something. They get a sense of urgency to get it taken care of before it continues to worsen and causes a serious health issue. It helps them understand the urgency of timely treatment and it gets them on the schedule so that the practice and the patients benefit.”
The opinions expressed here are those of Dr. Terry Work and do not reflect those of KaVo Kerr Group. For OP 3D indications for use, visit kavo.com/us/ifu.