Dr. Steven Frost introduces our final issue of 2020 with a focus on positive ways to overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and some suggestions on implementing new technologies. Looking forward to 2021!
There’s a certain sweet spot that influences whether a technology or solution becomes a new standard of care in endodontic practices. As specialists who care deeply for our patients, we find the greatest value in those advancements that conjoin better clinical outcomes with improved patient experiences. We work with technology and systems every day, but at heart, we’re here to help people. That’s why I’m excited about the many emerging developments I see making a difference in my own practice — and in a growing number of endodontic practices and residency programs across the nation. After swiftly responding to the pandemic and navigating unforeseen challenges, it’s nice to look ahead and focus on positive opportunities for pursuing better together.
A shift to high-tech irrigation Traditional needle irrigation can pose a challenge in today’s move toward minimally invasive protocols designed to retain more tooth structure. New multisonic irrigation technology allows your irrigation solution to reach smaller canal intricacies such as lateral canals or isthmuses. A better clean is a better outcome. But I’m equally excited about how this technology improves patient experiences. In addition to a reduction in reported pain, it allows us to go from two-visit endo to one visit. If you were to ask patients if they prefer a procedure that takes two visits or one, we already know the answer.
The continued rise of CBCT imaging Watch for growing access to cone beam computed tomographic (CBCT) imaging. Its 3D images provide unprecedented information from missed canals or a fractured root to complexities of the sinuses. I have a saying in my practice: “Great information makes for even better decisions.” By having this information available to us, we’re able to produce better outcomes.
Dynamic navigation for preserving tooth structure While magnification and illumination have supported more conservative freehand endodontic access, dynamic navigation is a giant leap for minimally invasive procedures. The computer-guided technology uses real-time feedback to increase accuracy and spare coronal tooth structure, even in the most challenging cases including calcified canals.
More endodontists joining together Emerging tech isn’t the only thing changing endodontic practices. One of the biggest shifts we’re seeing is a trend toward group practices and specialty services partnerships (SSPs). While this trend has already impacted general dentistry, endodontists have been slower to move from the legacy practice model. For my own career path, I’ve always believed it’s not just about the journey, but who you take with you. As an owner-partner in the nation’s first and fastest growing SSP, I’m part of a collaborative community that enables me to share best practices and truly focus on patient care. As part of U.S. Endo Partners, we are stronger together.
Elevated experiences for staff and patients Smart businesses in every sector know that when your staff feels supported and respected, they’ll show the same level of care for customers and guests. Seemingly small details add up to a big impact. Case in point? We recently redesigned our offices with light colors and modern lines to emphasize the cleanliness of our pristine and safe operatories. The experience is further elevated with a fresh, clean aromatherapy scent circulated throughout our space. Team members feel safe and valued, and the positive feelings are passed on to our patients.
Not just change, but progress Change is inevitable, as we’ve seen over the last year. It’s exciting to look ahead at new ways to move forward — better and stronger. By focusing on what’s good for our patients, we’ll ultimately serve our specialty as well.
Dr. Steven L. Frost