It’s easier than you think

March 21, 2012

The science behind Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT ) sounds complicated. Technology jargon is filled with words such as resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, collimation and voxel sizes.

The science behind Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT ) sounds complicated. Technology jargon is filled with words such as resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, collimation and voxel sizes.

The good news is dentists who implement 3D technology never have to calculate or concern themselves with any of these statistics, although knowing about them is, admittedly, very interesting. The bottom line is 3D imaging is easier than you think. 

My experience with CBCT

I implemented my system, the Gendex  GXCB-500™, in early 2008. I upgraded to the HD version about six months ago. My team and I have developed a workflow plan that allows us to easily take a scan. It’s now second nature to take scans and review the data. My team also can easily switch to 2D pan mode, which is included in the system. Because this is a 2-in-1 system, my old pan machine is now relegated to storage.

Why you should give it a try

The idea of incorporating CBCT into your practice can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five reasons why adding CBCT to your list of services can be an easy, seamless transition for you and your practice:

1. It’s easy to use. Dental CBCT provides an opportunity to offer 3D imaging to patients-in the office. They do not have to spend extra time travelling to an imaging center, or be confined to a hospital-type CT scanner. My CBCT system’s ergonomic design is comfortable for the patient, who just sits in the seat while the machine does all the work. A head support minimizes patient movement for better image quality. Once the patient is situated, the standard scan is captured in 8.9 seconds, and then the images are on the screen in 20 seconds.

2. CBCT is easy to implement. The GXCB-500 HD plugs into a 120V outlet, with no special wiring needed. The computer that properly supports the system is included. The scanner’s small footprint lets it fit into the same space as a typical panoramic unit. With positioning steps that are close to those of taking a pan x-ray and with one-click selections, workflow easily can be incorporated into the daily routine.

3. It’s easy to adjust. If you can click, you can adjust this 3D scanner. Click and it changes from a traditional 2D pan to a 3D scan. Click and drag on the screen to choose a scan area. Scan sizes range from an 8 or 14 cm diameter with heights from 2 cm to 8 cm and anything in between. For times when more detail is warranted, simply select a higher resolution with one click.

4. The scans are easy to read and diagnose. Many options are available for clinicians who want to read their own scans and for those who prefer to seek advice from an oral radiologist. Dentists who want to hone their skills at reading 3D scans can take advantage of many educational opportunities including local seminars, Webinars, courses at national meetings and symposia such as the annual International Congress on 3D Dental Imaging. And remember, you learned to read 2D x-rays; you can learn to read 3D data. There also is a plethora of radiologists who are available to read scans. Most of the time, these clinicians render detailed reports and some even work up treatment plans.

5. Scans are easy to share. The Imaging Sciences International i-CATVision™ software, included with the system, provides for networking and sharing in DICOM compatible files. Scans can be sent via an FTP site or burned to a CD, as well as printed, so all of the referring dentists and specialists can discuss and stay informed about the decisions that translate into the best treatment plan for the patient. When distributed electronically, the i-CATVision software can be included and is freely sharable. The data also allows easy transfer into other 3D imaging planning programs to take advantage of not only planning, but CAD/CAM integration, such as surgical guides and implant restorations.

The time is now

Most dentists, even if they only know a little about 3D machines, clearly see the clinical benefits of this amazing technology. The best news about 3D is that this method is available now; it’s easy to use and implement; the information is clear and complete; and patient communication is improved. With imaging this valuable and this easy to obtain, the sooner 3D becomes a part of your armamentarium, the sooner your patients and your practice will start to reap the rewards.