Dr. Douglas Goldsmith and Dr. Gary Orentlicher are both board certified
oral and maxillofacial surgeons in private practice in Scarsdale, New
York. They co-founded Facial Imaging, LLC, a company that makes it easy
for doctors located both within and outside the United States to obtain
and utilize CT images for their dental implant patients. The process
produces high quality 3-D images quickly and economically for use in
developing patient treatment plans for implant placement and
Facial Imaging can process CT or cone beam scan data for any 3-D
software program. The doctor can view a scan on his or her computer
just hours after a patient has had their CT scan performed. Facial
Imaging has partnered with over 30 imaging centers in New York,
Connecticut, and Massachusetts and is in the process of expanding their
geographic outreach. Facial Imaging also offers 3-D treatment planning
services. Read on to learn more about Facial Imaging. You can also visit their website at: www.facialimagingllc.com
OsseoNews: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to discuss how Facial Imaging can greatly enhance the ability of dentists to treatment plan for dental implants.
Dr. Goldsmith: We took great care in creating a state-of-the-art system that simplifies the process from the ordering and scheduling of a CT scan, to the processing of the scan, to delivering the scan to the doctor. This process can usually be done the same day.
OsseoNews: Can you describe how the Facial Imaging process works?
Dr. Goldsmith: First, the patient has a scan at a Facial Imaging partner scan site. The data is then securely transmitted to Facial Imaging where it is processed using the SimPlant Master software or our proprietary ADDS software. This enhances the scan information.
The processed scan is then transferred to the doctor via the internet through Facial Imaging's secure HIPAA compliant website or on a CD. The scan is then downloaded onto the doctor's computer into their SimPlant Planner, Nobel Procera, or other software program. The doctor can then use these software programs to develop an ideal treatment plan for their patient. The data can be used to fabricate a surgical guide appliance to be used at the time of surgery.
Dr. Orentlicher: As part of our Quality Control protocol, each CT scan that is processed by Facial Imaging is first evaluated by our dental consultants. For example, if a doctor has ordered a NobelGuide scan, we will evaluate the 2 scans through the Nobel Procera software to make sure that the 2 scans can be successfully combined by the doctor. When a doctor receives a processed NobelGuide scan from Facial Imaging, they know ahead of time that the 2 scans can be successfully combined. This is all done by Facial Imaging prior to the doctor receiving the data.
If there is a problem with a scan, we first try to solve the problem and improve the quality of the data. If we feel that the CT scan needs to be retaken, we contact the scan site and they appoint the patient for a new CT scan at no charge.
OsseoNews: What kinds of problems did you encounter that made you realize there was a need for this type of service?
Dr. Goldsmith: Most imaging facilities are more geared to taking CT scans for medical purposes and we realized that most technicians were not properly trained to take accurate CT scans to meet our needs.
We found that patients were often improperly positioned, scanned with the wrong scanning protocol, or had movement during the scan. This caused the scan information to be less accurate or of little value. Sometimes the scanners were outdated and not capable of providing the proper information.
At our partner imaging centers, we personally train the technicians. This leads to consistent, high quality, accurate scans.
Dr. Orentlicher: Another problem we encountered was the improper positioning of the scan appliance. There are cases where a CT scan is done with the patient wearing an appliance with denture type teeth in the positions of the desired final restoration.
The problem is that when the patient is positioned for the CT scan, the scan appliance can be dislodged or may not be seated properly. A trained technician can identify this and insure that the scan appliance is properly positioned. This again contributes to the quality of the CT scan and its appropriateness for our treatment planning needs.
OsseoNews: So both these problems are eliminated when patients have their CT scan at one of Facial Imaging'ss partner scan sites?
Dr. Goldsmith: Yes. Just to put this into perspective, before we started up Facial Imaging, we found that one or both of these problems occurred in 20% or more of our CT scans coming in from medical imaging sites. That is why we put such an emphasis on training our technicians.
Dr. Orentlicher: Another problem we recognized is that many dentists are not comfortable dealing with medical imaging centers. It can be somewhat intimidating if you are not used to dealing with the medical system. We eliminated this problem when we partnered with select CT imaging centers in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
OsseoNews: So by partnering with independent CT imaging centers you improved the quality of the CT scans you needed and you made it easier for dentists who are not familiar with the medical system to refer patients for CT scans.
Dr. Goldsmith: The imaging centers that have contracted with Facial Imaging are more accessible to patients. As of now we have partnerships with CT imaging centers throughout most of New York and Connecticut. We have an imaging center in Massachusetts and we are negotiating now to expand to New Jersey and Rhode Island. Our goal is to have enough imaging centers on board so that patients won't have to drive long distances. We are focused on convenience and patient comfort.
Dr. Orentlicher: We have also brought the cost of CT scans down to make them more affordable to patients. The cost for a CT scan and all the support services that we provide is $4-500 for one jaw or $7-800 for both jaws. This in itself is a considerable savings just in the cost of the CT scan alone. We do not feel that high costs for CT scans should be an obstacle for patients.
OsseoNews: What happens if the doctor does not have SimPlant Planner, Nobel Procera Planner, or other planning software, but does have a computer?
Dr. Goldsmith: The doctor can then download free software from our website called SimPlant View. This will allow the doctor to view all the CT scan data, take measurements and zoom in on 3-D images.
OsseoNews: What happens if the doctor does not have a computer?
Dr. Goldsmith: In that case we print out all the data with 3-D images and mail them to the doctor. We can provide the doctor with prints that are an exact one to one of the patient's scan.
OsseoNews: Can your system accommodate other software programs?
Dr. Goldsmith: We can accommodate any three dimensional implant treatment planning software product on the market.
Dr. Orentlicher: We can also process CT or cone beam scans from other scan sites, hospitals, or offices. The image data can be transmitted securely via the internet or put on a CD and mailed to Facial Imaging's office. We will facilitate secure internet connectivity between other offices and Facial Imaging at no cost to that office.
OsseoNews: This sounds as though you have a rather versatile and comprehensive system. And just to clarify the cost factor, you stated the cost for the CT scan and processing is all inclusive.
Dr. Orentlicher: That is correct. That one fee we mentioned includes all of these services.
OsseoNews: Do you offer customer service?
Dr. Goldsmith: Yes. Our customer service office is open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST Monday through Friday.
OsseoNews: Any other new developments that we should be looking for?
Dr. Goldsmith: We have just launched a new treatment planning service that will make our system even more comprehensive. We have professional consultants on staff who will create a treatment plan with the planning software that the doctor utilizes. For instance, if the doctor is a NobelGuide user we will develop a treatment plan using NobelGuide software to the doctorâ€™s specifications and transfer this information to the doctor. More specific treatment planning and consultation information is available on our website.
OsseoNews: What is the best way for our readers to find out more about Facial Imaging services?
Dr. Goldsmith: Gary, I'm glad you asked, because we just re-vamped our website. Now doctors, radiologists and patients can utilize our new site. All the information they need can be found at www.facialimagingllc.com. They can also call our toll free number (800) 881-4432.
OsseoNews: Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedules for this interview.
Interview conducted by
Gary J. Kaplowitz, DDS, MA, M Ed, ABGD