Dental Health Info Article

Galileos: Fred Joyal Interviews Michael Augins

Fred explores the benefits of the Galileos 3D imaging system with Michael Augins, president of Sirona. The Galileos system uses diagnostic technology that provides the highest resolution with the lowest dosage of radiation. As a result, dentists can create higher quality, more natural-looking dental restorations such as dental implants.

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Fred Joyal: I'm here with Michael Augins, President of Sirona, and we want to talk about Galileos, this amazing new technology that Sirona has developed. Michael, tell me about Galileos? What does it do?

Michael Augins: Well, Galileos is a system that enables the dentist to take a comprehensive three-dimensional scan of the patient's skull. And so with this technology, they're able to capture a lot of data that they can't with traditional imaging technology.

Fred Joyal: So, normally the dentist is taking two-dimensional X-rays, right, and Galileos takes a 3-D picture of the person's head?

Michael Augins: The Galileos does take a comprehensive 3-D scan by traveling around the patient's head and takes 200 images while it does so. A computer then takes all of that data that was captured by the system and is able to make a comprehensive three-dimensional diagram with accuracy that's much greater than can be captured on a two-dimensional image.

Fred Joyal: So, this gives the dentist much more accurate data and apparently not just the teeth, but up into the gums and the sinuses and they can spot all sorts of different things.

Michael Augins: Absolutely. On any two-dimensional picture, you can only see what was captured in the frame, so whatever was captured within the field of view that that image was taken. So if you have perhaps a cavity or an abnormal growth, then that might not be captured in a traditional 2-D image so a lot of times the dentist might see something that they otherwise would not. There's other things that you can do in 3-D that are much better than in 2-D and one of the primary things is the ability to measure things like bone thickness. So one of the core uses is in implantology for three-dimensional images. A lot of times the dentist isn't really sure if they can anchor an implant into the tooth - into the bone that's there or whether they might have to do a bone buildup or whether they would have to choose a different size implant and able to do the case.

Fred Joyal: Oh, so you're talking about dental implants as opposed to say dentures or bridges or partials. So this Galileos gives much better information so that that goes right where it's supposed to.

Michael Augins: Absolutely. Implants are one of the fastest growing areas of dentistry because it gives a very natural restoration for the patient and there are a number of advantages to the implant. One of the problems is that in placing the implant, the dentist really has to have a good idea of what they're inserting the implant into, and two-dimensional images don't give you as much information about the quality, the thickness of the bone structure that exists within that patient's mouth. And so with three-dimensional images, they have a much more comprehensive understanding and can do a better job of planning the appropriate treatment for that instance.

Fred Joyal: It shows them what they can't see and a lot of times what they can't even see on an X-ray.

Michael Augins: Absolutely.

Fred Joyal: So, how much radiation is involved in a Galileos scan?

Michael Augins: One of the nice things about the Galileos scan is that a Galileos has the lowest radiation of all 3-D imaging technologies. It uses a proprietary technology from Siemens and so the dosage that you'd get from a Galileos scan is about a little bit less than you might get from a transatlantic flight in an airplane or about the same as you might receive at a sunny day on the beach. Really, the amounts are pretty insignificant in terms of what you might get from nature.

Fred Joyal: Now, is it uncomfortable to get the scan?

Michael Augins: No, in fact it's very quick and quite comfortable. The patient needs to stay stabilized for about 14 seconds. The image is taken in that amount of time. The patient is then - steps away from the machine, it takes about two or three minutes and the computers reconstruct the data and the doctor has the image. But for the patient, it's really no different than maybe if they've had a traditional panoramic X-ray done.

Fred Joyal: Okay. I've seen some of the imagery that the dentist gets and he can rotate it in every direction and really get a great look at everything that's going on. What else can he diagnose with that?

Michael Augins: Well, there's all kinds of pathologies. If you're doing an extraction, for example, you want to make sure that you're not going to damage any of the nerve endings, so you can see the different nerve endings within. You can diagnose a number of different sinus problems, sleep apnea. You can find calcifications. Sometimes tooth buds that didn't grow in. There are a number of applications in the orthodontic arena as well so there is a lot that can be done with three-dimensional data, either findings that can be found or new treatments that could be planned differently because of having all of this additional data.

Fred Joyal: So, this is really cutting edge. This is the best a dentist get can pretty much.

Michael Augins: Absolutely. Three-dimensional imaging is still a very new technology. Less than one percent of all dentists today use the technology in their practices, but it's very rapidly growing. The advantages of three-dimensional X-ray, they're more and more using it. Because it's expensive technology, not every dentist has it within his or her office. Only some of the finest practices today do that. But a lot of dentists are outsourcing their patients. They're sending them out to get Galileos images from other doctors who have invested in the technology.

Fred Joyal: So, they could go to another dentist and get a scan and then that information goes back to their dentist.

Michael Augins: Absolutely, that could happen. But we think that what will happen is that dentists, especially dentists that incorporate these kind of cutting-edge technologies and do really state-of-the-art treatments will be incorporating into it their practice. And we think that it makes a lot of sense and you'll see a really rapid growth in the development of three-dimensional imaging technology.

Fred Joyal: So, this is really the wave of the future.

Michael Augins: Absolutely. I think within 10 to 20 years, you'll see almost every practice practicing exclusively with 3-D imaging.

Fred Joyal: Wonderful. Well, it's very exciting. Thank you, Michael.