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World class scanner

Friday, 11th September, 2009

Changes to laws covering the use of x-ray equipment have resulted in a local dental surgery now boasting a "world-class" imaging facility.

Dentist Greg Cocks said yesterday that locals would be the major beneficiaries of a new cone beam 3D scanner he has installed at his Iodide Street practice.

Unlike normal OPG scanners which offer two dimensional images, the Galileos cone beam scanner produces a 3D image of a patient's head and neck. Dr Cocks said the scanner offered a vastly improved service over the normal OPG scanners which do not meet new EPA standards. Apart from using it to assess the pathology of his own dental patients, Dr Cocks said it would also provide a "wider service" to the community. Other applications for the scanner include fractures, airways assessments, and sinus and skull base assessments.

"GPs and specialists can refer into the Dental Centre for any head and neck issues and get a report back in a couple of days," said Vivien Munoz-Ferrada, director of Canada Bay, which has entered into a joint venture partnership with Dr Cocks' practice. She said images are sent via the internet to Canada Bay, a radiological diagnostic service, where they are assessed by a head and neck specialist. The service is bulk billed by Medicare, though there is a fee for taking the image. Ms Munoz-Ferrada, who was in the city this week for the launch of the new facility, said the cone beam scanners were "taking the uncertainty out of dentistry". "It's replacing the old OPG (Ortho Pantagram scanner) which is two dimensional, this is three dimensional," she said. She said Broken Hill was fortunate to have one of the scanners as only about 25 existed in Australia, with the majority in Melbourne and Sydney. "It takes the pressure off the health service for having such a facility."

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