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CBCT Referral/Imaging Centers

Legal liability regarding the use and interpretation of CBCT imaging is a common concern and evolving topic among dentists. While legal representatives and oral radiologists lean toward caution and stress proper education, vendors and distributors will continue to push a laissez faire attitude in order to accelerate adoption of the newer technology. For a brief introduction into CBCT liability, Dental Economics published an article by Arthur W. Curley, Esq., a senior trial attorney in the San Francisco-based health-care defense firm, Bradley, Curley, Barrabee & Kowalski, PC: Dentistry, the law, and CBCT

The article stresses how 3D Imaging is becoming the standard of care for implant planning and that it is a major area of litigation involving dentists. “Implant dentistry is one of the fastest growing fields in dentistry today, and unfortunately it has also become the fastest growing area of litigation related to nerve damage, sinus perforation, injury to teeth, and lack of bone.” Regarding CBCT interpretation, the article opines, “It may be ideal to have a dental radiologist read and report on it.”

Dr. Mecham has always enjoyed learning and was an exceptional student during the pursuit of each of his degrees, earning various rewards and recognition. Now, he hopes that joy of learning will translate into not only image interpretation, but teaching oral radiology to students and other dental colleagues who are interested in learning more about the subject.

Some dental malpractice carriers have even started including verbiage that coverage would not be provided in the case of missed diagnosis in 3D Imaging. We would strongly recommend having a conversation with your malpractice carrier about whether it is a good idea to have a radiologist interpret cone beam images.

It has been well-established that a general dentist will be held to the standard of care of a specialist in litigation cases. Although severe occult pathology discovered on CBCTs is fortunately quite rare, as radiologists we see how patients are directly benefited by interpretation by a qualified individual on a daily basis. Most commonly, we discover dental related infectious or pathologic processes that indicate a need for dental treatment. In this regard, referring CBCTs for interpretation can potentially pay for itself, in addition to reducing the inherent liability of using the technology. For all of these reasons, we feel that it is imperative that a cone beam receives a written report by a qualified oral and maxillofacial radiologist.

CBCT Imaging Centers

It‘s not always necessary for every dentist to own his/her own Cone Beam machine, but we believe that no dentist should be without access to this beneficial imaging modality. With Cone Beam CT‘s being sold all over the country, there are many dentists and specialists, as well as imaging centers willing to accept patient referrals for scans.

We have started compiling a map of dental imaging centers and dental offices who own their own conebeams and are willing to accept patient referrals for imaging. If you would like to be added to this map, please email us at [email protected] with the name, address and phone number of your practice as well as the type of practice it is (single, group, specialty, etc.).

Oral Radiologist Report Patient Fliers

Many dentists worry about explaining to their patients the need for the additional cost associated with referring to a radiologist (although it is recommended to include this cost in the cost of CBCT acquisition). We have made this patient flier to explain to patients why it‘s important and in their best interest to have a radiologist review the images. Please contact us if you would like a number of these flyers for patient distribution. The flier text is include below:

Why do I need my images read by an oral radiologist?

Medical doctors have ALWAYS had a trained radiologist look at any x-rays or other imaging. A medical doctor wouldn‘t even take an x-ray of a finger without having a radiologist look at it. So why haven‘t dentists had radiologists look at their x-rays before? Traditionally, dental x-rays involved the teeth and little more. Dentists are the most qualified individuals to examine and interpret these images. Our new, state-of-the-art 3D imaging system, known as cone beam CT, shows a 3-dimensional view of the teeth, jaws, sinuses and surrounding areas, up to and including parts of the skull and spine. Just like in medical imaging, it is important that a qualified radiologist, with experience interpreting these additional anatomical structures, investigates the entire field of the images, to let us know that everything looks normal and that there are no additional findings that may need attention. Because we are concerned with your overall well-being, we strongly feel it is important to have these images interpreted by an oral radiologist.