The Willingness to Embrace New Technology

Interesting changes at your favorite dental clinic, ladies and gentlemen. Our neighbor dental clinic that spent so many years sharing office space with us is gone and we have decided to move in to their side of the building, expanding our practice by four more operatories!

There is a lot of work that is going into cleaning up the now-vacated side of our practice, and as we were hauling away a film processor for film-based bitewing x-rays, it occurred to me the stark difference in the level of technology used between our two offices that coexisted for so many years.

We have been taking digital x-rays for seven years! That’s almost a decade! Here’s this other dental office right next to us still using film! The benefits of digital x-rays are clear to me: There is less radiation, it takes one/tenth the time to complete a full series of x-rays, the sensors are rounded and smooth and more comfortable, the diagnostic imaging is superior and instantaneous, and copies are available immediately.

For me, all of this translates to this: Our patients will appreciate the time we have saved them, the superior diagnostic image we have taken and, most importantly, the pokey-cheek pain that we did NOT cause them taking a simple x-ray. This is an obvious win-win, right?

So I asked myself, “Self…Why don’t all dental clinics buy into this technology thing?” I don’t think that the answer is ever very simple. I hear a myriad of excuses when some of my fellow dentists are confronted with new technology, but mostly, it is fear of change. “If it isn’t broke, why fix it?” Right? Why should Dr. Pokey X-Ray take his valuable time to learn a new process or piece of technology when what he’s doing works well enough to keep him on the golf course 3 days a week?

Maybe he’s right. It definitely works for his bottom line. After all, he doesn’t have to spend the money and time to upgrade, but what about his patients? New technology, for me, is a point of pride. It tells our patients that we care enough to inconvenience ourselves to learn a new process, spend some money and time and grow so that our patients come out of our clinic with huge smiles on their faces.

We are fully aware that the dentist is not a fun place to be, but if I can buy something or learn something that effects one patient in such a way to recommend us to a friend or neighbor, to say things like, “You won’t believe this, but I actually ENJOY my visits to the dentist!” I know I’m doing the right thing, and Dr. Pokey X-Ray could take a page from our book.

On that note, check this baby out:

This is the Sirona Galileos, a 3-D cone beam X-Ray device. It creates a 3-D image of your skull and teeth.

This is the image that we worked with previously.

This is the image we work with now.

This image can be rotated, sliced, zoomed and creates a diagnostic and surgical guide that is positively unmatched in detail. If the first image up there was Apollo 11, this one here is the Starship Enterprise. This is the type of X-ray machine that those implant specialty places such as Clear Choice use to place precision implants, except this ours is newer. (Heh. Heh.)

While other clinics will slowly get on board with this technology, we are the first in this area to have it, and while we’ve only had it a month, it has proved invaluable in diagnosing persistent problems that older x-ray technology might have missed, has allowed us to surgically extract impacted wisdom teeth and place precision implants. It’s, quite frankly, amazing.

Often times, dentists will refer their patients to a custom head and neck x-ray company to obtain a scan such as this to do specialty work. We have this baby in-house, and our patients have the luxury of getting a full scan as our standard of care. Next time you’re in the office, have Mike show it to you. We have seen the future, and it is us!

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