It’s getting better all the time
From patient-side communication to clinical functionality to back-end support, Vatech’s Premium 3D CBCT proves invaluable to Gold Coast Periodontist.
“A picture speaks a thousand words” is Dr Adrian Hoffman’s succinct way of conveying the powerful diagnostic value of 3D images, especially when it comes to enhancing patient communication and encouraging patient acceptance of treatment plans. It also hints at his view of patient demands evolving in tandem with prevailing innovation – in this case, the CBCT.
“Unfortunately, patients are less inclined to just ‘take our word’ in accepting treatment plans. Patients want to see graphically what needs and is expected to be achieved,” he reasons.
By delivering highly detailed and visually compelling treatment presentations, Dr Hoffman attests that his CBCT unit of choice – Vatech’s 3D CBCT – has assisted in attaining no less than 95% acceptance rate on his implant treatment plans.
“Patients are so impressed by the graphics and manipulation of scan data. By graphically pointing out the uniqueness of the patient’s bone volume and anatomy, they can better understand the various stages and options involved with implant surgery: For example, whether the facial bone is thick enough to allow for predictable ‘immediate’ implant surgery; or if there is substantial bone loss (resorption) that necessitates bone grafting procedures.”
Director of Pacific Periodontics & Implants since 2006, Dr Hoffman practices in Tugun, Gold Coast – one of Pacific’s two locations, the other being Ballina in NSW. Following a brief service in the Australian Regular Army, he moved to the UK to work as Senior House Officer for five years. The overseas vocation saw him take up various positions in Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral Medicine, Prosthodontics, in addition to attaining his Fellowship with Royal College of Surgeons of England (1999) which earned entry to complete his specialist training in Periodontics with the University of Queensland (2003).
It has been two years since Dr Hoffman upgraded its diagnostic unit from Vatech’s older model, the Uni3D, to the current model. For the Specialist, staying with the same brand that has ably served his diagnostic needs for 10 years was as natural a decision as levelling up to the latest model:
“I had the need for doing larger FOV scans for more complex cases, but also the upgrade in resolution of images and improved graphics was a big plus!”
Indeed, the upgrade underscores a leap forward in terms of Field of View (FOV), from 5X5 to 12X9, the latter FOV providing the most optimal information for oral diagnosis fully covering both maxillary and mandibular structures in a single scan. This makes it suitable for most oral surgery cases as well as multiple implant surgery.
Although the 3D imaging equipment is mostly used for implant assessment and treatment planning, Dr Hoffman frequently uses its separate and low radiation dose 2D-OPG functionality on the majority of his patients.
“This gives a much higher resolution (clearer) image than trying to reconstruct a 2D image from 3D data and is also more ethical in terms of radiation dosage. We then take a separate 3D image only where necessary. This is similar to the rationale of taking supplemental periapical x-rays.
“With the Vatech 3D CBCT, it is very easy to change field of view (FOV) sizing.”
You would find the unit’s user-friendliness a recurring theme as Dr Hoffman highlights his favourite features. On the bundled Ez3D-i software being linked to his Ultimo practice management software, he enthuses: “It allows a one-click transfer of patient data that systematically jumpstarts selection of scanning parameters. That effectively gives us intuitive control across a seamless workflow.”
The ease with which the operator is able to select from four different FOVs also ups the convenience factor. Referencing the unit’s “par excellence” versatility, he elaborates: “It’s great to be able to select a high and super-high resolution option. Both features enable you to massively reduce the patient exposure where appropriate.”
“In performing small FOV scans, the unit allows for a tooth number to be the centre of your scan – which is very smart. The height is also easily adjustable. This allows taking a unilateral scan of a maxillary sinus with just a 5cm FOV. This is ethical and patients really appreciate it.”
The superb image clarity provided by the 3D CBCT is almost a forgone conclusion for the long-time Vatech user. Perhaps the only “drawback” for being accustomed to the consistently clear images is Dr Hoffman’s reticence to work with images obtained from other machines – he, half-jestingly, admits to “groaning each time a patient shows up with a CD containing scans taken elsewhere.”
In the same way, the Gold Coast Specialist has grown rather accustomed to the prompt efficiency of Vatech’s local technical and aftersales support team at Medical Dental Solutions (MDS).
“There will always be unique hiccups when incorporating a new software system into your existing dental management software. It is really important to have an experienced and obliging after-sales team to override the inevitable hiccups.
“Inevitable hiccups” including the time the reception staff forgot to enter the patient’s date of birth into the system – a required step for triggering the scanner – resulting in temporary stoppage.
“I have found the MDS staff always courteous and obliging to assist – even when overcoming silly clerical errors.”
The more Dr Hoffman shares his experience about using the Vatech unit, the more his decision to upgrade to a newer model, instead of switching to a different brand, becomes abundantly clear – and perhaps self-explanatory, as the picture that is worth a thousand words.
Pacific Periodontics (www.pacificperio.com.au) Suite 1, 419 Golden Four Drive, Tugun QLD 4224. For more information on Vatech x-ray system – Including 3D CBCT – contact Vatech Australasia (1300 789 454).
This article was originally published on Australasian Dentist July-August edition.