The end of the year is often a time for reflection on what services we as dental professionals can offer our patients.
In the last issue, I introduced a new wireless intraoral sensor. Many offices, though, are looking at extraoral systems as well. Every year, more dental offices invest in cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) machines to enhance their diagnostic capabilities, planning capabilities, and patient presentation, as well as a charge for scans they had previously referred to specialists. This technology has become increasingly common in the dental practice over the past decade and is beginning to become the standard of care for procedures such as root canal therapy and more complex implant cases.
I primarily focus on HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity. Several offices I provide services to have recently added this technology, and several more ask me about the best CBCT systems to purchase and the best way to go about that purchase.
In today’s dental equipment world, there are usually several systems within a given price range that would serve the needs of the practice. Whether you are primarily focused on acquiring small field-of-view scans for endodontic cases, or large maxillofacial scans for TMJ, airway, or large reconstructive cases, you will have a variety of machine options to choose from. However, I always point out to my clients that purchasing even the exact same system from different companies can yield very different ownership experiences.
CBCT adds a lot of functionality (and, therefore, complexity) to digital radiography compared with traditional two-dimensional panoramic and intraoral radiographs. A full day of in-office training is standard with pretty much all CBCT systems, but the learning curve to be fully proficient with this technology is obviously longer than a single day. With any CBCT system, it is important that the company or representative you purchase from has expertise on that system and is able to provide service, technical support, and ongoing training to your office.
Consider the alternative. Nearly all CBCT machine manufacturers sell their systems through distributors, third-party companies that transact the sale to the end-user. In my experience, many distributors (especially the large supply houses) kickback all of the installation, training, and support needs to the manufacturer. This can leave offices without reliable access to support and ongoing training as the manufacturer is inundated with the support needs of all the end-users its various distributors sell to.
The first step is to identify a machine that offers the views and features you need for your intended use cases. Then, the best scenario is to find a distributor that is certified by the manufacturer to service that system and that offers support and training services independent of the manufacturer. Dental TI, a national imaging equipment distributor, is one such company I recommend to anyone looking at an investment in CBCT.
Dental TI has a sterling reputation for CBCT sales in online reviews and on industry forums such as Dentaltown. They are fully certified in the variety of CBCT systems they offer and include custom installation and integrations, ongoing training, and ongoing technical support with the machine purchase.
Through years of using digital imaging technologies in my own practice and supporting the technology environments of other offices, I have experienced both the amazing benefits that CBCT brings to an office as well as the frustrations that occur when this expensive technology goes down with limited or slow support options to get it back up. By having a capable distributor in your corner, you get the support infrastructure of both the distributor and the manufacturer, dramatically reducing downtime and headache.
My biggest concern is that too many offices fall for marketing hype and treat CBCT as a destination, not realizing there is a journey involved after the system is installed to achieve the optimal benefit and return on investment. If you are interested in enjoying the “3D journey,” I am always happy to put you in touch with companies that can help you with this process.