Sunday, April 06, 2008

Review of Dolphin Meeting

  • The 2008 Dolphin Meeting was held in the beautiful San Diego town of Coronado, California, on March 6-8. Congratulations to the entire Dolphin team for celebrating their 20th year of excellence in serving the dental community!

    The meeting opened with a personal welcome from Chester Wang, director of Dolphin Imaging & Management Solutions. In his opening remarks, he reviewed the company’s history and its enormous impact on the dental specialty community: According to Chester, more than 4,000 private practices worldwide utilize Dolphin on a daily basis! Dolphin’s presence in the academic community is just as impressive: Dolphin software is being utilized in more than 90% of university orthodontic departments, and in 50% of OMS departments. Even the American Board of Orthodontics uses Dolphin software to accept electronic case submissions.

    Dr. Bill Arnett briefly discussed the new Arnett/Gunson FAB Analyses, which is part of Dolphin’s new Legend Series of software modules. He and his partner, Dr. Michael Gunson, collaborated with Dolphin developers to create FAB (Face, Airway and Bite), which is treatment planning software designed into two specific components, one each for orthodontic and surgical patients. Consideration for airway measurements will be possible with the soon-to-be-released Dolphin Imaging version 11. TMJ, skeletal and soft tissue 3D measurements, 3D photography and 3D virtual surgery are also integrated in the FAB analysis. Dr. Arnett explained that the development of FAB would not have been possible without the extensive use of i-CAT cone beam technology. Orthodontists and oral surgeons will be able to make predictions much more accurately because of the collective research that Dr. Arnett and Dr. Gunson have established into FAB.

    Craig Dial (a past president of AADMRT and co-owner of ddi Imaging Centers) demonstrated how to use Dolphin 3D to create traditional 2D images from volumetric data sets. The three-day program also included sessions covering: customizing cephalometric tracing and photo layouts,, Aquarium, and many Dolphin management classes. Dolphin developers, trainers, and technicians joined an impressive roster of industry experts to explain the newest upgrades, features and applications of Dolphin software.

    I really enjoyed Dr. Russell Chang’s insightful lecture that demonstrated how using current technology made his office more effective and paperless. The key is to use stable platforms such as Dolphin Management, 3D, Aquarium, Televox, ISI, and other companies that truly believe in customer service. We already all know that the i-CAT is the premiere cone beam unit! My office has Dolphin Imaging, Ceph Tracing, 3D and Televox so we are well on our way to becoming a more effective office.

    Dr. Ronald Roncone’s presentation explained the theories behind his own proprietary software suite called the Roncone Modules, also part of Dolphin new Legend Series. “It’s all about metrics,” he told us, and explained that his computerized management system is based upon quantifying every aspect of your practice for the purpose of analyzing and improving. Scheduling, overhead, production, marketing, and of course financials are just a few of the 17areas of his trademarked Just Short Of Perfect (JSOP) practice protocols that can also be used in the dental imaging environment. We picked up several great ideas to incorporate into our own office procedures that will allow us to monitor and track the results of these changes.

    Gary Wiseman (Dolphin western regional sales manager) gave us an overview of the upcoming Dolphin Imaging version 11, which is planned to be released in time for the AAO in mid-May. The most significant change is the ability to perform volumetric measurements for the airway, which has clinical applications outside traditional dental specialties, such as sleep apnea. It has also become significantly easier to share 3D records with low-cost viewer licenses that also offer printing capabilities.

    Dr. Patel from the United Kingdom gave a thoroughly engaging presentation on building a successful practice and a comfortable quality of life. Dr. Patel runs one of the largest and busiest orthodontic practices in the United Kingdom, and he was willing to share how he achieved such great success. It’s all about planning for the future, he says, and he explained in detail how to create a Vision (keyword). He stressed the importance of long-term planning and short-term goal-setting. To emphasize his message, he quoted thinkers such as Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!” and Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up somewhere else.” Dr. Patel emphasized the importance of setting incremental goals and tasks: “Create a three-year vision, and try to achieve 10 goals every 90 days. They can be business, personal or spiritual. Adjust your plan and make progress reports.” He encouraged the importance of a balance between work, rest and play.
    He also spoke on the importance of leadership, and described his own fantastic team. Did you know that in the UK that the doctor does all the work on patients? There are NO auxiliaries! It’s true, no dental assistants! Dr. Patel used a carefully designed system to customize his champion support team. “A poor team is normally due to poor leadership and poor systems.” Here are a few more of his tidbits on leadership: “Leadership is the ability to get people to do what they don’t like to do, and like it! Leaders must take responsibility, listen, delegate and know where and when to act.”

    If you were to ask me what I felt was potentially the most significant session for the entire Dolphin meeting relevant to dental imaging, I would tell you it was Dr. Ed Lin’s session on SureSmile. Dr. Lin’s office incorporates Dolphin Imaging, 3D, Aquarium, E-models, Citrix, Invisalign, i-CAT, and has recently converted his orthodontic practice into a 100% SureSmile practice.

    What is SureSmile? The simple explanation is that SureSmile is a digital orthodontic system that uses simulation tools to create a three dimensional model that the practitioner then uses to virtually plan and diagnose before treatment begins. Its proprietary robotic technology employs algorithms to calculate the exact bends and torque required for each case, and then bends the special Copper-Nickel Titanium alloy archwires to the exact specifications. It produces superb outcomes in less time that traditional orthodontic wires and procedures. Think Invisalign, only with archwires instead of trays!

    By now you are asking, what does SureSmile have to do with dental imaging? The answer is (I feel like a contestant on Jeopardy!): SureSmile was developed with an intraoral scanner that creates a three-dimensional model of the patient’s dentition and bracket placement. As revolutionary as it was, two main issues kept it from being perfect: lack of root visualization, and a 20-30 minute scan time. That is where cone beam, or more specifically the i-CAT, becomes significant. Initial testing by SureSmile has verified that the i-CAT Classic is currently the only cone beam system that can replace the time consuming intraoral scanner! Imaging Sciences International will have the i-CAT Platinum certified very soon. One of the main problems that SureSmile has determined unacceptable is any patient movement on the scan. Apparently that is the reason other cone beam units are unable to be certified at this time. ISI is testing a specially designed carbon fiber head holder system, that if deemed acceptable will be available soon.

    When Invisalign was first introduced there were plenty of skeptics, yet its ultimate success cannot be ignored. Could it be possible that consumers will drive SureSmile to the same stratosphere? Reduced treatment time, less appointments, faster results? The benefits are gained not only by the patient, but the orthodontists too! For a detailed explanation, go to

    In just a few short years, cone beam imaging has proven to be a major contributor for dental implants. Now we are on the cusp of a revolution that will potentially affect orthodontics to the same degree. Aren’t you glad you have an i-CAT?


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