High-tech with a personal touch

Surrounded by what he described as not only friends, but “bright people I’m proud to share the stage with,” moderator and self-proclaimed tech-junkie a Dr. John Flucke kicked off a morning dedicated to bringing an extremely broad topic—Practice Improving Technologies—to a relevant, practical, your office on Monday morning level.

“We’re going to give you a peek, crack open the door to the future,” he said, “by the people who are helping to create that future.”

Dr. Barry Freydberg was the first panelist to present, focusing on the esthetic-technology link or, as he calls it, Techsthetics. Dr. Freydberg made a strong case for the digital image’s ability to convince patients to pursue treatment. “The image helps create a want,” he explained. “It helps them to visualize what they’re working toward.” One of the most compelling stories he told featured a woman who actually framed her before and simulated “after” shot, kept them on her desk, and saved money for a year to come back and pay to have the work done.

Dr. Robert Lowe discussed his extensive experience with laser-assisted cosmetic dentistry, concentrating specifically on its applications in surgical crown lengthening. Using a variety of images and examples from his own practice. Responding to a follow-up question regarding the controversy over the types of closed-flap osseous procedures he discussed, Dr. Lowe simply said that such controversy “comes from us not knowing, not doing. I had one doctor tell me the closed flap doesn’t work. I asked him how many he’d done. He said zero. I’ve done hundreds and it does work. For a minimally invasive approach to areas with biologic width encroachment, this is ideal.”

Panelist Ping Fu, CEO of Geomagic, discussed not the possibility, but the eventuality of the virtual patient. “Five to 10 years down the road, the virtual and the real worlds won’t exist separately, they’ll be the same thing,” she said. “My 14-year old daughter is already there.” She challenged the audience to consider a future in which we can build a “browser” around the patient, where all the info we need for treatment planning is seamlessly integrated and at our fingertips.

Daniel Llop, CDT, shared his insights on image-guided dentistry and the way it is increasingly thrusting the profession into a new paradigm. “We must all learn to work in it,” he entreated the crowd, “because finally, it’s bringing together the interdisciplinary team for unprecedented accuracy.” Offering his personal experience as the springboard for the benefits of conebeam technology and the advent of impressionless dentistry, he told the crowd that as a person, as a patient, “I would want you to treat me in the third dimension.”

As he so ably did yesterday, Lee Culp, CDT, wrapped up the panel with his thoughts on digital impressions, emphasizing again that models are a thing of the past and that currently, “we’re creating obsolete technology to hold the dentist’s hand for the next seven to 10 years” as they learn to trust the model-less workflow. With 55 million impressions completed each year in the U.S. alone, the expectation is that digital will become the standard of care.

Dr. Steven Hensel of Lincoln, MI, shares his thoughts on this morning’s panel on practice improving technologies.

~ by cwaring on May 16, 2008.

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