Cleartooth imaging system integrates extra-oral, digital panorex to better serve disabled patients

When you walk into Dr. John Nicolette’s family dentistry practice, located in a 1950’s house in Englewood, Colorodo, just outside of Denver, it feels at first like you’re walking into someone’s home. But though the office may feel homey, it is decidedly modern and high tech.

Dr. Nicolette’s practice includes a number of elderly and disabled patients, many of whom are confined to wheelchairs. To provide the best possible care, his office has incorporated a wheelchair ramp, an accessible consultation room with attached lavatory—and a number of advanced technology solutions that enable him to easily adapt to and address individual needs.

The Cleartooth digital X-ray system provides the digital imaging platform for the office and efficiently handles X-rays and photos, both intra-oral and extra-oral.

Dr. Nicolette chose Cleartooth several years ago after spending significant time researching a wide array of available digital X-ray solutions. His decision to select Cleartooth was centered on the diagnostic quality of the images they provide. “Cleartooth images are fabulous,” he said. “The image quality and contrast are superior to all other solutions I researched. Cleartooth images are simply the best, period.”

Though moving his practice to digital was a hard decision, Dr. Nicolette hasn’t looked back. “The digital solution we have is way less hassle when it comes to referral and dealing with insurance companies. And there’s no chemicals to deal with,” he said.

Meeting disparate patient needs with a single solution

For Dr. Nicolette, the convenience and time-savings of going digital with Cleartooth were significant. He estimates that in his office an X-ray is taken every hour and at least five minutes per X-ray is saved by using Cleartooth—which translates to a savings of at least 40 minutes each day. And patients like the system, too. “I can blow up the images so they can see them on the monitors that I have in every operatory. It’s much easier to show them what I’m talking about, and they love seeing the big images.”

However, it was clear that the special needs of some of his patients required additional X-ray solutions. Taking a bitewing X-ray of disabled or mobility restricted patients, many of whom who cannot be moved from wheelchair to dental chair and have trouble biting down on an intra-oral sensor, can pose a challenge. Dr. Nicolette realized he needed an extra-oral, panoramic X-ray solution, but didn’t want to lose the features he had come to value in the Cleartooth system—the sharp images, the simple, intuitive interface and the ability to customize how they view, work with and share the X-ray images. “My whole office uses Cleartooth and I didn’t want to have just one machine using a different system. It would have been a big hassle,” he said.

Cleartooth and Planmeca: an integrated solution

Dr. Nicolette approached the Cleartooth team for assistance and explained his goal: he wanted to be able to view and work with images from a his chosen panorex X-ray machine, the Planmeca Pro 1, in the Cleartooth system which is networked across his office and accessible on all of the office’s six computers and in its four operatories. Handling panoramic images was a capability that Cleartooth was already considering, and they agreed to develop an integration with Planmeca, partnering with Dr. Nicolette’s office to tune the Cleartooth software with input from a real world clincial environment. The result: As the X-rays are taken, the images appear on the Planmeca preview screen, then within seconds they are available to Dr. Nicolette and his team on any computer through the Cleartooth interface. Cleartooth continues to work with Dr. Nicolette to refine this integration to provide the best possible panorex image.

The addition of the digital panoramic X-ray machine and a handheld, extra-oral X-ray unit have proven valuable for working with elderly or disabled patients as well as children. Dr. Nicolette is now able to take extra-oral bitewing and panorex X-rays and can capture full head shots to help him review the entire oral cavity for any problems, in addition to taking diagnostic-quality intra-oral X-rays. But it is the functionality of the Cleartooth system that brings it all together. “I can take and view panarex images right in the consult room, then view in the operatory on the monitor with the patient,” he explains.

Preparing for a digital future

Dr. Nicolette knows that investing in technology is important for his practice, and he is confident that he will recoup the costs. In his view, this technology is tremendously helpful with the elderly and disabled patients that make up a large part of his practice, making the experience more pleasant for them while enabling him to deliver high quality care.

Dr. Nicolette believes that the move to digital imaging technologies is gaining speed and in the near future insurance companies will no longer accept traditional X-rays with claims; they will only accept digital files. “Digital is the future,” he says. “I guarantee it!”

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About Cleartooth

Cleartooth™ Digital X-Ray from Cleartooth Electronics offers dental practices the most advanced, easy-to-use digital imaging solution available today. With unmatched image clarity and reliability, our innovative touch-screen digital imaging system is an essential tool in diagnosing early decay and disease with confidence.


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