Did you know? You are The Virtual Patient. Old enough to remember the giant floating head of the Great Oz in the Emerald City, I revisited that experience on a whole new level at the Sirona 3D Summit this weekend. Cone technology. It’s the future of dental diagnosis. Ever wonder how your dentist makes heads or tails of all those fuzzy gray shades on the dental x-ray? The technology to place “cone beam x-ray” into a dentist’s office has broken the horizon, especially for those specializing in implant dentistry. From the perch of a comfy chair, one 14-second pass around your head creates multiple views…from seeing your head and face as in a photo, to superimposed on your skull, to the tiniest detail at the root tip. Now, rotate it. See it in 3D. Now, slice it like a CT scan. See the nerve lay next to the third molar root. Diagnose. Diagnose. Diagnose. Treatment planning has become visually explainable on The Virtual Patient. With Galileos and similar technologies, you’ll never wonder again, “What does he see in that fuzzy x-ray?” You will see it too. Crystal clear.

Sirona in partnership with Patterson Dental has brought a remarkable cadre of interconnected products to market. The hub will be GALILEOS capturing your entire head from chin to jaw joint to airways to crown…the whole you. From here, for example, this information is used to design surgical guides for placing implants and communicating with CEREC, an in-office milling machine, to restore the tooth on the implant while you wait. All connected; all digital.

Dentistry is changing and it’s good for us, the patient. Technology is renovating the industry and the dentist’s ability to do what they have always done – provide the best care possible for their patients. Now, it’s getting easier to diagnose, communicate, and treat effectively.

Patients need tools, too, to help them receive care. CareCap helps patients pay for the services they need. Patients have long asked for an easy way to make payments affordably and without the stress of unknown fees and high interest rates. The last thing a dentist and patient want is to defer or opt out of needed care. With tools in your dentist’s hands like Galileos diagnosing and CareCap helping bridge the financial gap for treatment payment, we win. The patient can clearly see the need for treatment and coordinate an affordable payment plan with the office.

While the Great and Powerful Oz was all smoke and mirrors, this is real. “Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.”