Dr Smith and Dr. Johnson: Two Approaches to 3D Dentistry
Over the years, ImageWorks has helped thousands of offices make the most of their digital imaging. We wanted to share a thought about two common scenarios that we often see with dental professionals utilizing cone beam technology in their practices.
Let’s describe these in terms of two practice owners. We’ll call them Dr. Smith and Dr. Johnson. When it comes to evaluating a Cone Beam, Dr. Smith sees this simply as a cost that needs to be endured, and he thinks of the ROI simply in terms of how much he can get paid for every scan. Therefore, Dr. Smith’s number one objective is simply to minimize that cost as much as possible. With this objective, Dr. Smith will be able to find a cone beam that will be dropped in their office, and Dr. Smith will be on his own. Three months later, the doctor finds that the staff is a little afraid of taking a 3D scan because they have not done many. Perhaps early on, some staff members who only received an hour of training when the unit was installed, didn’t have their first cone beam patient until 3 weeks later. At this point, perhaps they forgot the positioning technique and ended up cutting some anatomy off in the scan. After this experience, the staff became afraid to use it. One year later, the office is only using the system for panoramic scans, and because the unit was designed to use one sensor for both panos and cone beams, in the end, the office has paid a lot of money for a low-resolution panoramic x-ray.
Dr. Johnson, on the other hand, sees the cone beam system as an investment. She knows this investment has the opportunity to enhance her practice in a number of ways:
- Her staff will be able to create longer-term consulting relationships with her patients from day one. This will allow the practice to have more engaged, longer term discussions with patients, which will make the patient base of the practice more consistent, and the billing more stable.
- Her staff will spend less time convincing patients of the accuracy of the diagnosis because the patients will be able to see for themselves. More time can be spent discussing treatment options and actually performing dentistry.
- She will have more confidence in speaking with patients about the treatment plan options, because she has so much more information to determine probabilities and risks.
- If she does come across pathology that she is not familiar with, she can easily provide plenty of information to a specialist. If that specialist does not know, she can easily engage with a maxillofacial radiologist. She knows that each one of these situations creates further opportunity for learning, because every time she engages a specialist review, she will now be familiar with this pathology next time around. Over time, all this additional information across all of her patients accelerates her knowledge and experience, and there is an exponential growth in learning.
If you have questions about whether a cone beam system could improve you practice, sign up for a 15-minute introduction with us. We would love to chat with you.