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“Visual stimulation is an extremely powerful tool”

An interview with Dr. Scott MacLean during the Nobel Biocare Global Symposium in New York, 23–26, 2016.

Dr. MacLean, could you please introduce yourself to the readers by sharing some details about your professional background?

Dr. Scott MacLean: I have been a dentist for close to 25 years, with a main focus on dental-implant-related practice, both placement and restoration. My passion is to provide and teach dental implantology and improve quality of life; I have lectured internationally on these topics and have taught in the implant elective at the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie University in Canada for more than ten years now. For about the same time, I have been involved with Nobel Biocare and the launch of new products, such as the NobelActive implant, NobelProcera system and different bone grafting materials.

The topic of today’s discussion forum at the Nobel Biocare Global Symposium is partnering for life. Could you briefly describe what attendees can expect?

At the forum today, I will be talking about how dentists can improve communication with their patients in order to encourage them to value dental implants and understand why they should have them. One of the main issues in this respect is that dentists should explain and illustrate the benefits of dental implants for quality of life. We have to get patients excited and interested by educating them. As the patient population ages increasingly, longevity is becoming a major topic in all areas of health care. There will be more older people who want quality of life, which is why they will have their hips replaced even at an advanced age, and if they are convinced about the benefits, they will want the same for their mouth in order to eat, smile, kiss and speak better.

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According to your experience, what approaches and tools can help dental professionals grow their practice and increase patient flow?

There are many things we cannot describe. Thus, the most effective approach is to stimulate patients visually, as this enhances their limbic system and helps them make decisions.

NobelClinician Software can be a great asset in this regard, as it can be used not only as a planning tool but also as an educational tool. Dentists can show their patients different aspects of the treatment outcome, which is what they are most interested in. This is comparable to the booking process in a travel agency. If you want to go to Hawaii, the agent will not show you pictures of hour-long flights but images of the beach to help you visualize your final destination. We sometimes focus too much on the details of the procedure itself, which might scare the patient and make him or her apprehensive about treatment. Visual stimulation is an extremely powerful tool and helps the patient get more involved in the treatment. 

Discover: NobelClinician – Digital treatment planning

In your opinion, what are the indications that are most challenging for dental implantologists, and how can the software help facilitate treatment of these cases?

The most important advantage of using NobelClinician is that one can draw on a great deal of information, especially about anatomical structures, and this capability was not available in the past in the early stages of implant planning, before even starting treatment. This helps increase precision and accuracy tremendously.

Placing implants should always be both precise and accurate. However, this is not always the case. At a recent scientific meeting, I learned that only about 30 percent of implants are placed in the right position.

For example, a missing labial tooth can be a very challenging indication, as we have to get within 1.5 mm of a canine in order to make the tooth look esthetic, which is very difficult without guidance. NobelClinician allows one to position the implant that close to the canine and not hit it. 

Original article first published in "Today Nobel Biocare Symposia Edition 2016", republished with approval by DTI group.

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