The digital revolution

Philip Friel tells Private Dentistry why digital imaging is one of the ‘must haves’ in dentistry.

My professional career choice was really a last resort, as I had little interest in any of the others available, on the whole! That said, when I looked into dentistry more closely, I realised it was actually one of the few professions that encompasses all others to a certain extent, as there are elements of medicine, law, technology, engineering, design, art, business etc. This variation and diversity, together with the opportunity to make a living helping others, soon made me decide that dentistry was the career for me and I was hooked.

I graduated from Glasgow University with degrees in anatomy (1998) and dental surgery (2000); I attained membership to the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 2004. In 2009 I was awarded entry to Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow without examination. I am currently based at Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry, a private referral clinic in Glasgow’s west end where I lead a team of 18.


I have a particular focus on cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry with a specific interest in dental implant surgery.

Technologies change and develop and I think regardless of what it is, advancements must be investigated and a decision made on whether it is a good idea to adopt these changes. For me, the quality, accuracy and efficiency of digital imaging mean it is one of the ‘must haves’.

I can explain why digital imaging is so valuable in practice in three words: speed, efficiency and accuracy, with minimal patient exposure. From intraoral digital sensors to our multiple FOV CBCT scanner, we can offer our patients a comprehensive and holistic approach to their treatment planning. With our in-house CBCT scanner, we can achieve everything under one roof and indeed, also provide a scanning facility for other clinicians.

With a focus on reconstructive/cosmetic dentistry and a particular interest in dental implants, this piece of equipment is regularly used and is of huge benefit in complex cases.

The effective and appropriate use of cone beam CT scanning can, for example, revolutionise many aspects of pre-surgery planning to ensure planned surgical/restorative treatment is possible and accurately reproduced.

The three-dimensional CBCT images allow fantastic diagnostic and planning capabilities for the dentists in the clinic and the images can be used for diagnosis, bone assessment and precise location of vital structures when planning. In addition, the updated implant library allows the placement of proposed implants on the scan. We also use the small volume scan for diffi cult endodontic cases.

Using the information gained from the CBCT scans, we can produce 3D models of a patient’s bone and surgical guides to enable computed assisted planning and design for implant placement in difficult areas.


We use the Vatech Pax-Duo CBCT scanner from Vatech – a piece of digital X-ray equipment, which I see as offering us ultimate solutions for the work we carry out in the clinic.

I researched all the potential suppliers of equipment for the clinic and Vatech ticked the boxes for the reasons previously mentioned, but mainly the multiple field of view CBCT. This offers the ability to take variable scan sizes without patching that can be utilised in the maintenance of as low a dose as possible for the patient. In addition, the machine also has the ability to take a true OPG image rather than a reconstructed one.

We’ve found our scanner fully functional yet intuitive to use. The provided capture software gives a simple and easy-to-use interface, which enables us to achieve the optimal image without difficulty.

In addition, in terms of service, we’ve experienced no major issues and always been aware of the ‘can-do’ attitude from our Vatech contacts.


PUBLISHED IN Private Dentistry, September 2012

DENTIST : Dr. Philip Friel


DENTAL PRACTICE : Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry

ADDRESS : 154 Hyndland Road Hyndland Glasgow G12 9HZ

TEL : 0141 339 7579

E-MAIL : [email protected]


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