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SurfCT Blog with Paul Vigario

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Improvements in Dental Imaging with Machine Learning

It is predicted that artificial intelligence is only going to become more widespread in the medical field. Advances in both the medical field and in technology are paving the way for a brighter, smarter future in healthcare.

Dentistry is one particular field that is benefiting greatly from artificial intelligence and modern technology.

CAD systems are one of the new pieces of tech that medical professionals are making use of. This system will analyze a photo, identifying each object in the picture. It offers medical professionals a vital second opinion.

Conventional neural networks are also a technology to look out for. They are able to identify images almost as accurately as a human. They are even able to identify humans from photographs.

It is easy to imagine how useful these tools would be in dentistry. The artificial intelligence programming would theoretically be able to distinguish gums, teeth, and bones apart. The only thing holding back conventional neural networks in the dental world is that there is not enough training data available at the moment.

Upon successful implementation, a conventional neural network would be able to identify tumors in the mouth and so much more. Even if the technology isn’t perfect, it doesn’t hurt a dentists office to make use of this technology. It may be imperfect, but it could see something that the dentists missed, such as a dangerous tumor or osteomyelitis…

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Using Virtual Reality for Dental Training & Practice

Virtual reality is a new, amazing, fun technology; however, it doesn’t have to be all about having a good time. Industries are using virtual reality as a training method. It can provide the most realistic experience possible without doing the real thing. It is an excellent teaching resource. The dentistry world is just one field that is making incredible use of virtual reality. They are using it to train dentists in 3-D worlds, letting them get hands-on training without ever performing on a real patient. In fact, it is expected that the medical field market for virtual reality will reach over $5 billion by 2025. Dentists aren’t merely using virtual reality to train new doctors; they are also using virtual reality in some really unique ways.

Pain Medication Alternative

Dentists are now starting to use virtual reality to calm their patients. The patients put on the virtual reality headset and are transported to a peaceful location of their choice, such as a calm, tranquil beach. One patient told the LA Times that he completely forgot he was at the dentist once he put the headset on.

Explaining Procedures

It can be hard to explain medical procedures to lay people. Virtual reality takes some of the weight of dentists’ shoulders by doing the work for them. Patients are able to see exactly what will be performed by wearing a virtual reality headset. They will be able to witness in 3-D the surgery or procedure actually performed. This helps the patient understand and gives them a peace of mind…

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Traditional Braces v. Clear Aligners

Spending your adolescent years with crooked teeth is not an uncommon issue.  More than likely, you, or someone you know has gone through orthodontic treatment to help straighten permanent teeth after they’ve all grown in.  Similar to other dental technologies in the industry, braces have evolved from ancient methods to more traditional ones that we’re familiar with today.  However, in recent years, the “traditional” form of braces that we’re all generally used to, have also seen a major change. Enter: invisible aligners.

Invisible aligners are now used as a new alternative to traditional braces and a way to correct mild to moderate orthodontic issues without having a mouth full of metal brackets and wires.  While they’ve been around for a few years now, as of recently clear aligners are receiving a lot of attention due to the convenience of alignments kits that are shipped right to your door. Here are a few of the major benefits behind invisible aligners:

Convenience

One of the greatest reasons why individuals are transitioning from traditional braces to clear aligners is the ultimate form of orthodontic convenience.  Patients that opt for clear aligners have the ability to remove their aligners every time they eat and practice their dental hygiene routines.  With traditional braces, patients are often restricted from eating certain food items due to the risk of damaging brackets and having to make a trip back to the orthodontist for a fix.  However, clear aligners eliminate food restrictions as patients remove them before eating and no longer have to worry about damaging metal brackets and wires. Additionally, they’re extremely popular due to their seemingly “invisible” appearance; giving patients the opportunity to straighten their teeth, without having the appearance of metal brackets, wires, and bands in their mouth.

Improved Dental Hygiene

Traditional metal braces require extensive dental hygiene methods in order to keep teeth and gums healthy and clean.  Patients who have traditional braces often find it difficult to maintain proper oral health due to the obstruction of the metal applications across their teeth.  Poor dental hygiene while having traditional braces can result in the development of calcium deposits on the surface of their teeth, or swollen irritated gums that can lead to gingivitis and other serious health problems in the future.  Invisible aligners prove to be significantly more efficient when it comes to maintaining proper dental hygiene…

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.org

What is Digital Smile Design?

Technology in the dental industry has experienced many different innovations that have improved dental practices for both dental professionals and their patients.  As technology continues to evolve and develop, dental professionals are finding new ways to perfect traditional processes using new innovative developments. Digital Smile Design (DSD) is an innovative and unique dental treatment planning tool that helps enhance the vision, diagnostics, and predictability of dental professionals and how they work with their patients.  “SurfCT.com  is the exclusive DSD Technology provider” says Mr. Paul Vigario “and can assist in making your dental practice DSD ready, more efficient and technologically advanced with the most innovative developments throughout the dental industry, specifically, DSD and DSD Technology.”  “We are honored to be working with Dr. Christian Coachman and making his vision a reality with DSD Technology readily available for any dental practice that is ready to take things to the next level.”

So, what does DSD do for dental professionals and their patients?

Essentially, DSD provides dental professionals with an easy and efficient way to develop a dental treatment plan for their patients customized to their patients dental and facial proportions.  With the use of videos, mock-ups, and digital photographs, DSD technology can provide dental professionals with an accurate sense of the relationships between a patient’s gums, lips, and teeth, and ultimately how they work together to create a patient’s unique smile.  Additionally, DSD technology can assist dental professionals in diagnosing patient issues more effectively and accurately. “More patients say YES to treatment with DSD Technology designed specifically for the way you practice” says SurfCT.com founder, Mr. Paul Vigario.

On the patient side of the technology, DSD gives you a personalized view into the end result of your specific procedure.  The idea is to keep patients and dental professionals on the same page throughout the process while making it easy for patients to communicate their wants and needs about their design of their smile; essentially putting patients in full control of their desired result. When the necessary patient data and information is collected using DSD technology, it will then be imported into the software to provide a glimpse into what the patient can expect from the treatment…

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.info  

Dental Imaging Game Changer: Dental Cone Beam CT

Dental imaging has seen a substantial amount of changes over the years.  From a simple classic X-ray to 3-D imaging technologies that are multi-purpose and provide dental professionals with accurate ways to diagnose problems, and plan for invasive and reconstructive oral procedures.  Dental Cone Beam CT, is known as a technology that changed the imaging game for the better, and drastically improved the way dental professionals can work with their patients.   

So, what is it exactly?  Dental Cone Beam CT, or Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) is an advanced 3-D X-ray imaging system that provides dental professionals with a fast and easy way to answer different questions pertaining to a patient’s oral health.  Generally, this is used in situations where regular X-rays are unable to accurately capture oral images that could help diagnose specific issues. The major difference between CBCT and a traditional X-ray is the result. CBCT machines are used to provide 3-D images of dental structures, tissues, bone, and nerve paths in one single scan, as opposed to the 2-D image your dentist would receive from a traditional X-ray.  

You may require a CBCT scan if:

  • You need a surgical procedure such as an impacted tooth removal
  • You need a dental implant…

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.org 

A Brief History of Dental Technologies

Your routine visit to your dentist’s office is around the corner, and you’re starting to think about how the visit will go.  The tools that will be used; will you have to get an x-ray or even a small procedure? You may not realize it, but a visit to the dentist is packed with many different technologies that have not only evolved over the years, but are still changing, and will likely continue to change as time goes on.  Think back to your list visit: What were some of tools you remember your hygienist or dentist using? Handheld manual tools, ultrasonic cleaning tools, molds & X-rays? While it’s likely you’ve experienced these things during one visit or another, it’s interesting to think about where these high tech tools started.  

Toothbrushes

Something as simple as your toothbrush has gone through so many changes since it’s origination dating back to ancient China.  Fast forward to a more relevant time, the first nylon bristle toothbrush wasn’t manufactured until 1938. By 1960, electric toothbrushes were newly introduced into the market; and from there, they have seen significant changes that revolutionized the way they clean, from rotation (full or partial), to vibrating, and even a combination of both.  Today, you’ll see toothbrushes that almost act as “smart” brushes, with Bluetooth capabilities and ways to monitor brushing habits.

Dental Handpiece

Dental handpieces have been around since the early 18th century.  During those times, they were primarily used for manual drilling and extraction procedures; however, they were often hard to operate and made certain procedures rather tedious…

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Digital Scanning, 3D Printing, and Dentistry

If you’ve been to the dentist or had braces, you’re likely all too familiar with gooey mouth impressions that most patients ultimately dread.  Not only is the process unpleasant, but the final product could take up to a few weeks to come in. The good news is, the days of impressions are beginning to coming to an end.  

Now, a trip to your dentist for any type of appliance that regularly requires a mold could be completed using scanning and 3D print technology.  If you have a dental appointment for a retainer or night guard, for example, your dentist may now wave a digital wand in your mouth that scans your teeth.  Once the scan is completed, it can be converted into a digital file and e-mailed to a 3D printer. The printer is typically located in the office or a dental lab, and it prints with FDA-approved materials.  The scan gives perfect measurements of your mouth and teeth so the dental 3D printer can create an appliance that fits properly.  

3D print technology is an extremely popular and sought after solution in the dental industry; from general dentistry and orthodontics to dental implants and prosthesis.  This new technology is not only much more efficient for the dentist and patient, but it is also more affordable and better customized for the individual patient’s needs. Some of the many products that are produced via 3D printing are:

  • Dental implants
  • Dentures
  • Crowns
  • Nightguards
  • Braces
  • Aligners
  • Surgical guides

These products traditionally require multiple molds and a significant period of time before they’re ready to be taken by the patient.  There is substantial proof that the 3D dental industry will quickly expand and change how patients meet their dental needs. While many offices still use traditional practices, the efficiency, patient experience, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of 3D printing make a good argument for some technological upgrades.  

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.org 

Is Your Dental Practice HIPAA Compliant?

In recent years, HIPAA compliance in the dental industry has gained the same level of importance as that of medical organizations.  In terms of Protected Health Information (PHI), dental practices are held to the same standard as the rest of the medical community and must adhere to the same level of privacy and security when it pertains to patient information.  HIPAA rules regarding patient privacy, security, and breach notification fully apply to a dental practice if it is considered a “covered entity” under HIPAA.

Dental practices that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA need to take the necessary steps to comply with all of the required regulations.  These steps include:

  • Appointing a HIPAA Privacy Official
  • Appointing a HIPAA Security Official
  • Creating a HIPAA compliance team
  • Perform risk analysis
  • Train workforce members (staff & employees)
  • Develop policies and procedures
  • Maintain ongoing compliance measures

An offices policies and procedures are an essential part to complying with HIPAA regulations.  Dental practices should review their privacy and security policies, and alter areas that don’t meet with HIPAA regulations.  HIPAA privacy regulations provide patients rights over their health information, including dental and billing records. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) patients have privacy rights to :

  • Ask for a change in their records
  • Ask a health care provider not to disclose their information
  • Ask a healthcare provider to communicate with them confidentially, at an alternative location or by alternative means  The healthcare provider is required to accommodate reasonable requests.

 

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