People with Cerebral Palsy in Sydney are benefitting from the latest in CAD/CAM dental technology in the form of a full CEREC chairside scanning and milling system thanks to an exceedingly generous donation from Dentsply Sirona.
The CEREC system is the latest addition to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance's state-of-the-art dental clinic in Allambie Heights in Sydney's north.
"Sirona have been a generous ongoing supporter of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance's dental clinic for many, many years," said Dr Robert Watson, Chairman of the Panel of Honorary Dentists at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Dental Clinic.
"I was speaking with Mike Stone, the Managing Director of Dentsply Sirona recently about the work we do and mentioned in passing the difficulties we sometimes face taking impressions. Without hesitation, Mike questioned if a CEREC system that uses intraoral scanning technology would help and when I said it would, he offered to donate one.
"It was a very generous and unexpected gift and I cannot thank them enough. Already it is making a difference to people with Cerebral Palsy in New South Wales. We have 35 dentists who volunteer at the dental clinic, as well as two hygienists, and they have been busy using CEREC to make crowns, inlays, onlays and even a bridge.
"CEREC uses digital impressions so it is far easier and because we can mill the restorations on the spot, treatment times are lowered, making it far more comfortable for patients. CEREC allows us to help more patients with Cerebral Palsy faster and in less visits."
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person's ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition, some of these signs of cerebral palsy can improve or worsen over time. People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech and intellectual impairments as well as epilepsy.
In Australia there are approximately 34,000 people with cerebral palsy. Worldwide, the incidence of cerebral palsy is 1 in 500 births. There are currently 17 million people in the world who have cerebral palsy. For most, the cause is unknown and there is no known cure.
Staffed by volunteers, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance's dental clinic at Allambie Heights operates 3 days a week and treats around 500 patients a year. It features two dental surgeries, each equipped with previously donated Sirona dental units and digital x-ray systems, plus a sterilisation area featuring Sirona DAC sterilisers.
"Cerebral Palsy affects everyone differently," Dr Watson said. "Some of our patients walk in whilst others are in wheelchairs. One of the dental units has a special hoist over the chair with a harness to lift patients out of their wheelchair if required or more modern wheelchairs recline so we can work whilst they remain in their chair. Some patients can only be treated whilst under general anaesthetic and we complete those cases at Mona Vale Hospital.
"Sirona has been very generous providing the CEREC system and all the software and unlimited training either at the clinic in Allambie Heights or at Sirona's office in St Leonards. Adrian Marolly, Sirona's CEREC Specialist, has even offered to sit in while our dentists complete a case to ensure they are comfortable with the system."
Additionally, a progressive group of local CEREC dentists posted on Facebook that the clinic now has a CEREC which resulted in a number of experienced CEREC users volunteering.
"The Cerebral Palsy Alliance dental clinic has been operating for close to 70 years and we have benefited enormously from the many dental companies that are really good corporate citizens," Dr Watson said.
"Everyone is always willing to help in whatever way they can. Thanks to that help, we have probably the best Cerebral Palsy Alliance dental clinic anywhere in the world."
If you would like to volunteer at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance dental clinic, please call Dr Robert Watson on (02) 9977-1674.