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Robert Miller DMD
3D digital dentistry imaging helps to push boundaries. Implant dentist, Eimear O’Connell, explains how adding a 3D digital dentistry imaging unit to her CEREC workflow enabled her to push the boundaries of implant-borne restorations.
When I moved to my practice, Bite Dentistry in Edinburgh, I’d already decided that a 3D digital X-ray machine would be my next investment. At the time we were referring out our CBCT scans, but that meant that I was unable to produce surgical guides in- house, which was a significant drawback for me.
In 2016, we purchased Dentsply Sirona’s Orthophos SL 3D imaging system and immediately integrated it with our existing CEREC technology to create a full in-house implant- borne restorative workflow. The difference it made was extraordinary.
I routinely take a 3D X-ray for every implant case to ensure we identify any pathology or more complex problems that lie beneath the gingiva. A key benefit of 3D digital dentistry imaging is the amount of detail I can gather about the bone and root structure. Not only can this change my approach to a case but it also means I’m not confronted by something unexpected during surgery.
3D X-rays have made diagnosis and treatment planning significantly easier. I now extract more complex teeth than I did before, as I have a clearer indication of their proximity to a nerve. When planning the extraction of a tooth with multiple roots, the image allows me to make a judgement as to whether it would be better to cut the tooth first and then extract it in separate pieces to preserve the bone.
One of the greatest benefits of digital imaging is the improvement in patient communication. I find giving patients a 3D visualisation of their oral anatomy also gives them a much better understanding of the situation. I can then fully explain the problem and give my treatment recommendation.
The Orthophos SL 3D integrates seamlessly with CEREC, enabling me to demonstrate, on the merged surface scan and X-ray, exactly where the implant will be placed in relation to all the anatomical structures. Patient reaction is incredibly positive, and it seems to give them confidence in me as a practitioner, and in the practice, as they can see that we have invested in some out- standing technology.
Since purchasing the Orthophos SL and starting to print surgical guides in-house, there has never been one that has not fitted. I’ve printed hundreds and in each case the implants have been placed exactly where I planned.
The range of fields of view and low dose radiation options incorporated in the Orthophos SL are excellent service additions for my implant practice. I’m able to capture the anatomy I need, with the accuracy and sharpness required, whilst remaining very conservative in terms of the radiation dose delivered.
It was important to me that we would be able to start using the Orthophos SL immediately and that my team wouldn’t require too much training; neither on operating the equipment nor on how to report on the images. Post-installation, Dentsply Sirona provided training on both these elements as part of their service. This is a vital step – knowing how the ma- chine works, how to position the patient and how to get the maximum diagnostic capability whilst staying within safe radiation limitations, are all crucial to getting the best out of the equipment.
Our investment in the Orthophos SL has more than lived up to expectations. Implant treatment uptake has increased thanks to the improvement in patient understanding of our diagnosis and treatment recommendations. We can offer our patients a much more streamlined experience as everything is in-house and we can often carry out the initial consultation, scan, diagnose and talk about the treatment all in the one visit.
We are also accepting CBCT referral business from local dentists. These two things combined have increased both turnover and profitability.
Knowing that I can trust my equipment 100% gives me amazing confidence in my clinical work. With CEREC and the Orthophos SL, I can deliver a streamlined workflow that I know is fully integrated and will work perfectly together. This is allowing me to push the boundaries of implant dentistry further than I’ve ever done before.
Dr Eimear O’Connell
Principal Dentist at Bite Dentistry, Edinburgh. ADI President Elect BDS (Edin 1992), MFGDP, Dip Imp Dent RCSEd, FFGDP
Eimear received her dental degree from the University of Edinburgh and she has run her own private dental practice in Edinburgh since 1996. She received her MFGDP and FFGDP from the Royal College of Surgeons London and her Diploma of Implant Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. She is currently the committee member for Scotland.
In 2014 Eimear won a UK business award from Software of Excellence as well as winning Best Overall Practice in Scotland. In 2015 her practice won a Best Patient Care award. Eimear is an international speaker and she is especially interested in digital dentistry. She has been using CEREC technology since 2008 and believes the increased success of her practice has much to do with the implementation of digital dentistry.