Smile! 5 Faster, Easier Dental Healthcare Solutions
In today’s veterinary healthcare landscape, dental procedures are standard offerings expected by clients. Unfortunately, growing this part of your practice can be challenging for both doctors and staff. Lengthy procedure times, tools that cause muscle fatigue for practitioners, and outdated, inadequate office space can make treatment more difficult than it needs to be.
We’ve talked with industry experts about five modern solutions that make dental healthcare faster and easier in practices. With these tools, staff can more easily incorporate procedures into their schedule, integrate dental treatment rooms into their office footprint, and leave their patients smiling at the end of each day!
1. Conduct panoramic X-rays in under three minutes
Is under three minutes for a full mouth panoramic X-ray really possible? It is. With the Pan i2D, what used to take about 40 minutes can now be done much more quickly. The machine has been on the market for about a year and is the first of its kind in the vet industry.
Tom Sterne with the technology’s manufacturer, MyVet Imaging, explains how it works. “It’s a tomographic moving X-ray that helps clinics get dental imaging more quickly,” he said. “While a traditional full-mouth intraoral series takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, a full-mouth panoramic with the Pan i2D can be done in three minutes, factoring in positioning of the patient and capturing and processing the images.”
Rick Beatty, also with MyVet Imaging, explained the company’s focus was to make the process quick and easy, but also allow the clinic to be able to see everything at once. In addition, faster scan times mean that animals aren’t under anesthesia as long and technicians can more quickly move onto other parts of their job. The system is compact, on wheels and the set-up includes the table, software, computer and monitor. “We install it, train it and you’re up and running within a day,” said Beatty.
2. Install a new dental suite over the weekend
Reconfiguring a practice’s dental procedure for comfort and efficiency doesn’t need to take a practice out of commission for days. Instead, new dental treatment areas using tables and equipment from Olympic Veterinary, can be installed in as little as a weekend. By Monday morning, your practice is ready to treat patients.
The Olympic dental suite was created to offer a completely equipped workspace with ergonomic design. According to Joe Reback, President of Olympic Veterinary, “the suite starts with the table. Either wet or dry tables are options and, if it is a wet table, installation can be completed with a short visit from the plumber.” Reback said that the swing arms make the best use out of a smaller space and allow the equipment to be repositioned for maximum comfort. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to move instruments out of the way so they’re within easy reach. To further keep things neat and easy, the Olympic bundle includes a power strip for easy access to multiple devices without staff having to contend with unwieldy cords.
Curious about how much space such a functional table will need? It can comfortably fit in an 8' x 10' room. Specifically, the base dimensions are 62" L x 21" W, but if the table is fully decked out with all of the possible swing arms loaded up, it could be up to 5' wide and 62" long.
3. Use a handheld dental imaging device that’s 30% lighter
Handheld dental imaging devices are helpful, but sometimes their weight can be tricky for users to manage during a procedure. Now there’s a solution for practices looking for something lighter. The EzRay Air handheld has you covered weighs 30% lighter than similarly sized units. New carbon nanotechnology (CNT) makes the difference in how much the tool weighs.
“Because it uses the latest technology – carbon nanotubes – it gives a nice clean X-ray wave coming out instead of like the old oil-based systems,” said Beatty. “The alternative oil-filled units are heat developed, so there’s a lot of extra scatter radiation. This unit can be more concentrated.” Exactly how light is the unit? It’s 4.1 pounds, battery included. Given that it might take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes to take a full-mouth scan, holding four pounds instead of a typical 6 pound unit can makes a pretty big difference in how a technician feels at the end of a procedure. It also has the flexibility to augment the Pan i2D, should a technician need to rescan one or two teeth.
4. Take advantage of online dental education tools
Gone are the days practice staff had to automatically interrupt busy schedules so they could keep up with continuing education requirements. Now, modern online learning tools mean that practices can receive comprehensive, up to date information on the latest approaches to nearly any CE topic, including dental healthcare. They can receive this information remotely, at their desk or on a smartphone or tablet during a time that’s convenient for them, including before or after work or in between patient appointments.
Patterson Veterinary’s Patterson Veterinary University is one source for this information. Located at PattersonVetUniversity.com, the platform currently offers a 5-part course on dental healthcare as well as ongoing information and trends on the same topic through its blog platform.
5. Reconfigure dental treatment space for efficiency
As practices take on more dental procedures, it often feels that they have less and less space to do it in. However, Michael Reynolds Vet Clinic Design Manager at Patterson Veterinary said they can make changes to maximize the space they have. “Offices that were built 30 or 40 years ago weren’t designed with the same equipment needs as today. More people, more animals, more equipment – there’s just more of everything now.” He added, “in new practices that we’re designing, they’re putting in an enclosed separate dental suite. With remodels, it’s more normal to build an alcove or extra wet tables in a treatment center that they’re going to do dentals on.”
Reynolds said that one floorplan that works for this design is to place X-ray equipment between two wet tables. This allows technicians to share equipment while doing more than one dental at a time. He has one caution about this arrangement, however. “It does require that you plan on where you’re going to place the tables because the longest arm that we have is seven feet. For it to reach the end of both tables with enough space to maneuver it around and get the shots that you need, you really have to be careful how you place the tables, how far apart they are and how far they are from the wall that the X-ray is going to mount on. But assuming all those things are set up right, it works really well.”