Dr. Allen Vean’s specialty is pediatric dentistry. A Colorado native, he leads the pediatrics practice for Cody Dental Group in Denver—the oldest continually operating dental group in the state. In practice for nearly 30 years, at Cody Dental he specializes in dealing with the dental issues of children from birth till adolescence. During his career, Dr. Vean has seen dramatic changes in the industry, particularly as digital technologies have become more prevalent.
Dr. Vean specialized in pediatric dentistry from the start—it’s one of nine specialty areas recognized by the American Dental Association—and he has found that working with children is both rewarding and challenging. The pediatric specialty requires three additional years of training and the use of instrumentation designed for working with a child’s smaller mouth. Different approaches are needed for handling the varying emotional maturity levels and behavioral differences of children, but one thing Dr. Vean can count on is the interest all children have in technology.
For the last few years, Dr. Vean has been using the Cleartooth™ Digital X-Ray system. After evaluating a number of digital X-ray solutions, Dr. Vean was impressed with the image quality and the easy and intuitive software that Cleartooth offered. He also found it appealing to work with a local company that offered much more responsive support and service. When he joined Cody Dental Group, he negotiated to bring his Cleartooth system with him.
“Cleartooth image quality is excellent,” he said. “And I like that I can magnify and spotlight an area . The software features are very useful. I like the Cleartooth software better than others I’ve seen. It’s easy to use and set up the way I like.”
Dr. Vean and his team have found that having all the computers and screens in the office networked makes things a lot simpler and faster. They’re able to move from one room or computer to another and pull up the same images. The office has eight different computers and Cleartooth sensors of two different sizes, enabling him to choose the one that offers the best fit for his pediatric patients.
When Cleartooth installed the system for Dr. Vean, they optimized the interface for his work in pediatric dentistry. When working with children, the first X-rays taken are typically two bitewings and two occlusals, rather than the full mouth series or four bitewings that are the standard for adults. Cleartooth set up Dr. Vean’s system to take pediatric X-rays as a default, with the ability to add additional X-ray views as the child gets older.
Kids today are fascinated by all things tech. They are way ahead of adults in terms of their comfort with new technologies and Dr. Vean’s young patients are fascinated with his touchscreen computers and digital sensors. “When they see the X-rays blown up big on the computer screen, it’s cool to them. They pay more attention,” he said.
“The Cleartooth system really helps me—and the parents too,” he continued. “Using digital, it’s faster getting the kids in and out of the chair.”
With Cleartooth, Dr. Vean is able to show parents and their children the resulting X-rays, right there in the consultation room. This ability to instantly display the image and zoom in helps give clarity in discussions of any pathology Dr. Vean finds. Since one of a pediatric dentist’s main concerns is preventing tooth decay, it’s also a great way to get kids to understand the importance of regular brushing. They can see what cavities actually look like in the tooth and the places where interproximal decay can hide.
Just a few short years ago, film X-rays were the standard and the accompanying chemicals, time commitment and headaches were just something dentists had to deal with. Now, dentists like Dr. Vean are increasingly moving their practice to digital methodologies. And the difference is significant. As Dr. Vean noted, “It’s like we’re going from the propeller age to supersonic. There’s no question that Cleartooth digital X-ray images are so much superior to film.”
And Dr. Vean sees the trend continuing: “I’ve been involved teaching post-graduate students in dentistry and I can tell you that dental colleges today don’t even teach film processes. In the next few years, chemicals are going to be obsolete.”
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