While dental implants have revolutionised dentistry, greater access to three-dimensional radiographic imaging thanks to the advent of cone beam computed tomography has significantly improved diagnosis and accuracy of surgical placement.
"As a clinician placing implants daily for our patients, and on behalf of my referral base, any technology like cone beam imaging that is proven to make that process more predictable and deliver more ideal patient outcomes will be incorporated in my practice," said Dr David Dunn, from Sydney's Macquarie Street Centre.
"On that basis, we have recently upgraded to the latest cone beam imaging system. This is the third CBCT unit we've had in the practice and the second from NewTom. Even though our previous system was a NewTom and we were very pleased with its performance, we still investigated all the systems that were on the market when we wanted to upgrade, prior to confirming our decision to go with the latest and top-of-the-range, NewTom VGi Evo.
"The NewTom VGi has the highest resolution of any cone beam imaging system currently available," Dr Dunn said. "It has the ability to collimate with great flexibility, from a full head view down to a quadrant and all with a low radiation dose. So that is an attractive benefit for any system.
"Further, the system also needs to allow you to view the scan in whatever format you need. In our case, the NewTom VGi scans are compatible with the software platforms we are already committed to. We use Dolphin Imaging across our network, plus NobelClinician for the bulk of our implant treatment planning. The NewTom scans integrate seamlessly with these products. We can also merge the 3D data with 3D digital impressions from our 3Shape TRIOS intraoral scanner in 3Shape's Implant Studio software for enhanced treatment planning, patient education and to print surgical guides, for example."
The NewTom VGi Evo scans a patient in 15 seconds and has both standard and hi-res modes. The system also offers an exceptional true 1:1 panoramic view. The airway can also be imaged and a dynamic video created to track jaw movement for TMJ analysis.
"Having a cone beam imaging system in-house has a number of benefits over and above access to the 3D radiographs," Dr Dunn said. "With our busy lifestyles today, time is an issue for most people. The ability to have a consultation and immediate access to CBCT data saves both costs and time for both the patient and the practice. When a patient is referred for treatment, we can immediately assess the patient at the initial consultation because within seconds, the NewTom affords us a complete diagnostic view of the situation, which we can then share with the patient."
"We are, in fact, situated next door to a radiography centre that has CT/CBCT options, but the patient is unlikely to receive the same quality of care and management that we provide. In addition, the patient would need to initially visit our practice, then go elsewhere for the scan and then, some time later when we receive the scan, the patient has to return for the diagnostic consultation."
"Having the NewTom in-house, therefore, condenses three appointments into one. It saves us and our patient time and money. In one appointment, the patient can have all the information they need to make decisions and commit to treatment."
Dr Dunn said that in his opinion, the image quality of the NewTom VGi scans far exceeds those from any other system.
"We now have ENT surgeons, endodontists and other dental practitioners referring to our practice for scans as the image quality is so exceptional," he said. "All the practitioners who refer patients to us for scanning comment on the image quality. They say they have never seen a scan so clear."
"Using NewTom's own NNT software, we can supply the scan to other practitioners with viewing software included."
Dr Dunn said that apart from the quality of the scan produced, a critical consideration in the selection of a CBCT unit is the warranty and quality of the after sales service and support, for what is essentially very complex technology.
"This is our third cone beam unit and the second system we have purchased from Inline Medical + Dental," he said. " Inline's service and support has been exemplary. Mike Harman, the MD, is always accessible and if there is ever an issue, they move to resolve it immediately. It's a big thing in this day and age to say, but I cannot fault their service and support.
"Having been involved in implant therapy now for several decades, I believe CBCT technology - with its diagnostic capability, convenience and integration with treatment planning software and other digital technologies - is simply a must have in providing uncompromised results for my patients today."