Comprehensive Practice Starts With 3D Imaging
Carestream Dental’s CS 9600 improves treatment planning and more
When Brian Baliwas, DDS, and his business partner Adam Miller, DDS, sat down to discuss opening their own dental practice, they started by asking, "What is our ‘why'?" They created a mission statement and a set of core values and determined that they would practice how they wanted to practice. "Far too often, dentists practice a certain way while hoping to one day have the financial means and time to practice the way that they really want to," Baliwas says. "We decided to reverse engineer it and build our practice around the kind of dentistry we wanted to be doing now."
Baliwas and Miller have realized that vision at 450 Aesthetics Dental Group in San Francisco, California. The fee-for-service practice is focused on delivering comprehensive, conservative dental care. "We see a limited number of patients throughout the day, and we really focus on providing excellent dental work," Baliwas says. Part of that commitment involves utilizing the best technology available, including systems that employ artificial intelligence. "We try to stay on top of technology to streamline our workflows as much as possible," Baliwas says. "We leverage that to provide better patient care and achieve better outcomes."
One key technology is cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). Although many general dentists leave this type of imaging to specialists, Baliwas feels that it is an important part of comprehensive care. "Dentists often outsource certain procedures, like imaging, to specialists and laboratories," he says, "but there is something about collecting diagnostic data that made us want to keep imaging in-house. As a general dentist, I see myself as the patient care ‘quarterback.' Even if I refer a procedure to a specialist to complete, it is still my responsibility to be involved in the planning and to know as much as I can about the case. The only way to do that is to collect all of the necessary data during our examinations."
After the practice decided to invest in a CBCT system, the next step was to select a specific product, and Baliwas opted for Carestream Dental's CS 9600. With its new Scan Ceph module and other innovations, the CS 9600 is even smarter and more versatile than ever. A scalable, five-in-one scanner, it uses AI-powered positioning to help dentists effortlessly achieve consistent results, and it produces crystal-clear images with limited artifacts and noise. Baliwas emphasizes that the general ease of use of the CS 9600 was the most important factor in his decision-making. "I know how to acquire a CBCT scan, but realistically, I am not the one using it every day—our assistants are," he says. "What is really important is that they are comfortable with the workflow and able to navigate the software and use the correct attachments. I love the fact that the attachments are color coded. A red light indicates if the wrong attachment is being used, the system remembers settings for different patients, and the controls are very intuitive." Baliwas adds that the image quality is so excellent that specialists often ask about it. "They comment on how clear the scans are, and they ask what we are using," he says.
Although adding the CS 9600 to the practice was primarily about philosophy, it also has provided practical workflow advantages. When a patient presents with an impacted third molar or a desire for implants, no longer does Baliwas need to send him or her to an imaging center and wait several days before being able to proceed with a treatment plan. "Being able to get that information immediately is great," he says.
"The more information that we have about our patients, the more we are able to help them," Baliwas says. "You cannot treat what you cannot see." Each case that Baliwas handles starts with the CS 9600 in the treatment planning stage. "Treatment planning is everything," he says. "It is the blueprint to your construction project." Baliwas adds that treatment plans should be as comprehensive as possible. "Our responsibility is to provide patients with the ideal plan and then make compromises based on their needs and goals," he says. "It's not about starting with the bare minimum and then adding when they want more."
Once treatment plans have been developed, Baliwas uses CBCT to plan implant placement, orthodontic treatment, endodontic therapy, airway and temporomandibular joint disorder cases, and more. He is open to adding new procedures to the practice's portfolio of services as well. "The CS 9600 will help to facilitate that," he says. "If we see something on a scan that we do not know how to treat, it opens a conversation, which is the proper way to do things. Dentists should not shy away from what they do not know. If we learn about something but ultimately decide to still refer it out, that is fine. Nonetheless, our responsibility is to inform our patients about what is going on and what their options are."
Of course, any practice owner is also running a business, so return on investment is an important aspect of implementing any large piece of technology. Baliwas charges fees for scans, but he also cites an indirect return on investment that results from his comprehensive treatment planning. "We see so much more with CBCT, so we are able to avoid mishaps and complications," he says. "That saves chair time. A CBCT system is definitely a big-ticket item, but if it can help your patients and you have patients who are willing to pay for that investment in themselves, it is definitely worth it. CBCT is not the standard of care yet, but it is moving in that direction."
For Baliwas, Carestream Dental CBCT is the standard of care. It allows him to practice in the way that he envisioned when he and Miller first opened the office. "CBCT gives you confidence because you can see things that you could not see before, such as bone level and obstructive anatomy," he says, "but it also supports your practice in so many other ways."
•The CS 9600 is a scalable, five-in-one scanner designed to help you grow your practice.
•Smart innovations drive precision at every examination.
•Artificial intelligence-powered positioning helps you effortlessly achieve consistent results.
•The images are crystal clear with limited artifacts and noise.
Carestream Dental • carestreamdental.com • 800-944-6365