Transform the way you diagnose and treat patients
KaVo Kerr Connections
Transform the way you diagnose and treat patients
I saw this posted on Instagram as I was scrolling down posts, and I stopped. Wait. I scrolled back up. It caught my full attention. It made me think. I am sure if you are like me you have goals or an intention to initiate something and you keep that idea in the back of your mind. Eventually though, what makes you take the plunge? What triggers you to decide, “Today will be the day”? While we might have different answers to these questions, for most of us, something or someone inspires us and what lingered in the back of your mind, becomes front view and center.
In 2014, I attended a 3D International Congress in Las Vegas just to learn more about CBCT technology as I was impressed how this technology was embraced by different specialties in everyday practice. I thought if I want to be knowledgeable about the future of my profession, then I should learn how and why this technology will make a difference. I entered that conference with the question: What do I, as a general dentist, who does not place implants nor performs endodontics, need to know about the impact that CBCT will create for a practice like mine? After the inspiring conference and hearing multiple experts in our profession—orthodontists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists— speak with passion on how this technology transformed their practices, I knew this technology would indeed be an opportunity to better serve my patients in my practice.
In January of 2015, I took the plunge to be a part of this growing standard and became a proud owner of the i-CAT FLX. When I referred a patient for an implant consult, would it not be ideal for the patient to have a preview before I sent them to the specialist’s office and to have the specialist have the information on hand at their consult? My wonderful periodontists, for instance, do not have a CBCT in their offices and that would mean after the initial consult, they would need to send the patient to an imaging center and then have to contact the patient again to relay their findings. This might pose barriers to the treatment plan acceptance —one of “time”—the currency of today’s patients.
And referring patients for extraction of thirds that look close to the IAN? Same thing. Have the information readily available for the surgeon at the consult visit. Sure, the oral surgeon could take the image… but the patient knows us and trusts us. In our office, we position the value of this need and explain that we invested in this technology to better take care of our patients. It is a no -brainer. Patients actually thank us for saving them time and are in awe at the imagery that can be created in minutes.
And now even more than I had imagined, the i-CAT FLX actually transformed my practice. In utilizing the technology for the examples above and many more, I could not ignore looking at the airway of these patients. In just seconds, the software allows me to quickly trace the airway onscreen in 3 clicks and produce color-coded constriction values highlighting airway volume as a screening device. It opened my eyes to this sleep issue that is haunting so many patients. From that, I did not waste any time and enrolled in 2 mini-residencies and a myriad of courses to learn more about this epidemic. Over 85% of patients with Sleep Apnea go undiagnosed1. Statistics of this disease would tell me that over 20% of my patients have this issue. Think about this: What other healthcare provider actually sees patients twice a year or even more? We are in the ideal position to discuss this issue with patients—even if our intention is only to screen patients and not actually treat the patient.
Already, in such short time, I have made so many patients happier and healthier. They, or their partner in life, thank me for even asking the question, “Do you snore?” or “Do you wake up feeling rested in the morning?”
This is the beauty of implementing new technology: It opens a new perspective and is transformative. I knew I wanted the i-CAT FLX to improve my diagnosis, to improve the care I give my patients, but honestly, I did not predict that it would ignite a paradigm shift. I see clearly now how I cannot practice without a CBCT as it allows me to discover areas that are hidden in 2D imaging like early resorption and apical lesions. I am certain that in 2018 I will be taking more scans and my patients will be better for it. I have so many examples in this short time of how incorporating this technology and this service has made me so excited about everyday practice as it is totally different than the dentistry we do every day. And even better my patients tell their friends about my excitement.
As we approach the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, ask yourself: Do I have any dreams of one day? What will inspire your day one? You decide.