By Dr. Alan Slootsky
Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging has played a valuable role in the way I practice, improving both my diagnoses and treatment planning. But, when I decided to invest in CBCT for my practice, there were a number of considerations I had to make from a business standpoint.
Like every dentist or specialist, I had my own obstacles to overcome. My particular obstacles were:
- My wife was nervous about spending so much money on a new piece of technology.
- Keeping the office open for an extra day to drive return on investment created some staff problems and required adding at least one more person to the team.
Any fears regarding the expense of the CBCT unit have been allayed, as I have found that a minimum of 20 new patients per month allows for a return on investment in one year. Patients have been really excited about the new technology and are more comfortable staying on site rather than going to a specialist. Having CBCT readily available within the practice has also allowed us to expand our diagnostic capabilities and services; which has a positive impact on revenue.
As for adding new staff, I started my journey of incorporating CBCT by hiring an associate last June who was trained in placing implants, third molar extractions and molar endodontics. We did this without in-office CBCT, and can now make positive comparisons to placing with it.
The following are a few other obstacles doctors may have—depending on their specific situation—as well as possible solutions.
Obstacle: I am uncomfortable reading the scan.
Solution: While 3D images were previously acquired and analyzed by radiologists, moving this technology into the practice means evaluating them yourself. For this reason, choosing a system from a manufacturer with comprehensive training can help you overcome this common hurdle.
Obstacle: I don’t have enough room to install a CBCT system.
Solution: Just as computers are becoming smaller and smaller, so are 3D imaging systems. I have been in the same location for 34 years and the system I chose is so compact that I am making it work with four main operatories and two overflow rooms.
Obstacle: I don’t have the amount of patients necessary to obtain a return on my investment.
Solution: There are a number of proven systems to increase patient flow to your practice. Not only that, but having expanded imaging capabilities available in office can help you make diagnoses and improve patient communication in an effort to increase case acceptance. Don't underestimate the WOW effect!
Having CBCT in your office also improves the care you offer current patients. Some patients have a resistance to leave the GP office; in fact, I have one patient who I encouraged to visit a periodontist for over five years. She would make the appointment, but cancel. Fortunately, seeing her own CBCT motivated her to have the treatment in my office. She scheduled, and showed up to have her extraction and site preservation for a future implant.
All in all, I would say that this all starts with the vision of the dentist owner and where they want to take their practice and invest their energy.
Have you considered incorporating new technology into your practice, but are worried about the obstacles? Let’s discuss it in the comments section below.
About Dr. Alan Slootsky D.M.D., M.A.G.D., F.A.C.D.
Born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey, Dr. Alan Slootsky attended Rutgers University and graduated from the College of Medicine and Dentistry (now called Rutgers School of Dental Medicine). Dr. Slootsky obtained a Fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry and a Mastership of the Academy of General Dentistry.
Today, Dr. Slootsky is the owner of a successful restorative and cosmetic dentistry practice in Pompano Beach as well as a Co-Chair of the advanced crown and bridge class at the Atlantic Coast Dental Research Clinic. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward Dental Association, Southern Academy of Prosthodontics and the Pankey Institute, and is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists. He presently is an adjunct professor at Nova University.