Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty and Staff, Students

Radiology Division Offers New Service, Updates Imaging Software

The UNC School of Dentistry Division of Radiology recently implemented some updates and new services to better serve students, faculty, patients and other dentists in the U.S. The recent changes to the division include the introduction of a cone beam CT (CBCT) reviewing service and upgrading to new image reading software, Medicor Imaging’s MiPACS Dental Enterprise PACS (MiPACS).

The CBCT review program, which is overseen by Director of Radiology Dr. Don Tyndall, allows dentists to submit CBCT volumes to be reviewed by one of the school’s board certified radiologists. The service includes a thorough report of findings and a differential diagnosis; these reports can be used as a second-opinion or a confirmation of suspected abnormal or unusual CBCT findings. For an $80 fee, dentists can upload their CBCT volumes of any size to a secure, HIPAA-compliant website to begin the process.

“We started this service because we realized that, while some dental practitioners are capable of reviewing their own CBCT volumes for most cases, there’s a large number who aren’t comfortable making solid diagnoses from them because they’re not familiar with certain findings or abnormalities,” said Tyndall. “Since reading radiographs is our specialty, dentists who use our CBCT review service can feel confident in the CBCT analysis and begin to form a treatment plan without the fear of missing an important finding.”

The division is also updating the image reading software across the school. The transition to MiPACS will allow the school to use a single application to acquire x-rays and photos from any of their existing digital imaging devices. All images acquired with MiPACS will be transferred over the network using the DICOM protocol and stored in DICOM format, ensuring standards-compliance and compatibility for the future. DICOM is a standard for handling, transferring, storing and printing medical images.

“While UNC was the first dental school in the U.S. to be completely digital, our previous system did not allow us to fully utilize the rapidly advancing digital imaging technology of today,” explained Tyndall. “MiPACS will greatly improve the workflow for our faculty and students and provide for better image quality for our patients. We will be able to unite all of the current and future advanced imaging technologies, from x-ray to optical, in one integrated and powerful software package giving us a robust platform for growth in the increasingly important area of digital dentistry.”