Digital dentistry continues to grow at a rapid pace—and no one understands that better than Dr. Jeffery Price, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. A practicing dentist in Western North Carolina for over 24 years, Dr. Price switched his focus to oral radiology after a bicycle wreck left his right hand partially numb. It’s his experience in general and restorative dentistry that allows him to view radiology from a practitioner—rather than purely academic—angle.
When Dr. Radi Masri and Dr. Carl F. Driscoll began work on their new textbook, Clinical Applications of Digital Dental Technology, they called on Dr. Price, along with Dr. Marcel E. Noujeim, to write the first chapter. A seasoned author with several articles on digital dentistry techniques under his belt, Dr. Price was well-equipped to contribute to the chapter on digital radiography.
The concept was to have one reference textbook on digital technology that would tie together a few disciplines in dentistry, and could be used both for an academic setting and also for private practitioners who are considering introducing more digital technology into their practice.
“Being in private practice really helped me when writing the chapter,” said Dr. Price. “Because the book starts out exploring early adopters and pioneers in technology and what causes dentists to adapt to new digital technologies, I had first-hand experience that gave me insight into the reasons why a practitioner is or is not using digital techniques.”
As digital dentistry becomes more mainstream, it’s important for practitioners to remain on top of the technology—and Dr. Price attributes this adaption to young dentists entering the field.
“I think as we have younger dentists entering the profession, they are more comfortable with the place that computers and technology have within the industry,” he said. “Students are wondering why we aren’t embracing more and more digital techniques. They see things in the press before they even get to dental school, so they’re wondering why we don’t do more with digital. Students in many cases are almost driving the desire, at least here in dental school.”
In addition to reviewing the history and adoption of digital dentistry, Dr. Price’s chapter also explores the practical applications of digital technology within the practice. This includes visual caries diagnosis—more specifically, Carestream Dental’s Logicon caries detector software.
“I used Logicon when I was in practice and liked it,” said Dr. Price. “The thing I liked about it is that it allows the practitioner the ability to set their own decision-making levels. For example, what level of security do they want? Do they want the computer to say ‘yes, this is caries?’ It’s basically like having a trusted dentist with a second opinion over your shoulder, which is helpful because dentists sometimes have trouble interpreting digital images due to their differences from conventional film images.”
Dr. Price also gets into a hot topic for the dental industry—cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). “Cone beam CT is one of my favorite topics in dentistry,” said Dr. Price. “We spend a big part of the chapter talking about its uses, because I think that a lot of dentists are interested in 3D imaging technology.”
Illustrating the section on CBCT are several clinical images captured by Carestream Dental’s CS 9300 system. Of the machine, Dr. Price said:
“The CS 9300 has been around for a few years, but the reason I like it so much is it has a very good combination of field of view sizes with the ability to control the resolution in combination with image quality. Whether practitioners are looking for something in a general practice, a restorative practice or an overall general clinic situation, I think this can really meet most imaging needs in one machine.”
Through the exploration of different dental imaging modalities, practitioners are better able to stay informed. “Staying current is a good thing, and I think this book provides a comprehensive review of what’s happening today in digital radiography, oral radiology and overall digital dental technology,” said Dr. Price.