Located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, Imaging Sciences International was founded in 1992, with the initial goal of introducing high-quality tomographic imaging systems to the dental community at a reasonable cost. From its initial CommCAT Imaging System and four following generations, to its modern-day i-CAT® technology, the company that began in the Keystone State has evolved into a key player and global leader in the development and manufacture of advanced dental and maxillofacial radiography products.
A look back; a future vision
Currently, Imaging Sciences’ i-CAT Cone Beam 3-D scanner is adding a new dimension to the practice of dentistry. Throughout its history, the firm has been driven by a corporate philosophy and strategy that emphasizes technical excellence and a focus on customer education and service. Ed Marandola, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Imaging Sciences International, noted that the company’s transformation into 3-D imaging grew out of its desire to cater to the diagnostic needs of dentists. “The world was becoming digital increasingly fast,” says Marandola. “Digital panoramic equipment was less expensive to manufacture than a digital tomography machine, so we needed to provide something significantly more valuable to dentists. Based on our next generation of the tomograph machine, we added digital sensors and used cone beam algorithms to develop the first i-CAT, which provided 3-D data to the dentist.”
Many of the first i-CAT customers had already experienced the efficiency of Imaging Sciences’ former products and the core values of the business. “They believed in us, and our dedication to providing quality imaging solutions and customer service,” recalls Marandola. This continues to be one of the firm’s primary focuses. “We have an extremely strong engineering team, and are in a constant state of product development.” While Imaging Sciences has grown to provide imaging to a global customer base, Marandola adds, “We still stick to these original core values.”
As the i-CAT continued spreading nationally and across the globe, additional developments allowed its further expansion. The firm established an exclusive distributor partner in the United States with Henry Schein Dental. This expanded the sales reach in order to bring the state-of-the-art technology to more dental practices around the country. The partnership also increased the support network to include a local infrastructure through the Henry Schein Dental team. Additional partnerships energized the firm even more. In 2007, Danaher, a Fortune 100 company, bought Imaging Sciences, and in 2008 new business associations among Imaging Sciences, Gendex, and DEXIS created even more opportunities for innovation. In 2008, i-CAT technology was expanded to power the GXCB-500™ by Gendex, which offers an implant specific field of view to further bring i-CAT 3-D imaging into many general dentist and implant practices.
Marandola notes, “These partnerships allowed us to continue to build relationships with dental professionals and gather ‘Voice of the Customer,’ discovering what they want and need.” This personal touch and communication continues today. “When a customer invests in an i-CAT, they are not just buying a cone beam scanner,” explains Marandola. “They are becoming a part of the i-CAT family.” He adds that even now, “Through dialogues with our customers, we find out what technologies their practices need to succeed so we can create products that deliver those benefits. We drive the innovation that helps our customers to grow.”
i-CAT technology is no stranger to accolades. It was voted the “Best Cone Beam CT Scanner” by Dental Town’s Townie Choice Awards each year from 2007 to 2009; “Best of CBCT” in Dental Technology Consultants’ Dental Equipment and Technology Buying Guides each year from 2007 to 2009; and The Pride Institute’s “Best of Class” for Cone Beam 3D Systems in 2009.
3-D imaging for orthodontists—a closer look
Not just relegated to general dentistry, cone beam technology captures the data necessary to plan an orthodontic case from beginning to end. The scan provides coverage of all the anatomical landmarks specifically required for orthodontic imaging─lateral and frontal cephs, SMV, and orthogonal images, to panoramic airway and spinal views.
Achieving all of these views, along with the ability to rotate, enlarge, slice or enhance the images, eliminates the need for multiple radiographs, and the frustration of forgetting to take a certain view or preparing tomograms and having to take more x-rays. It’s all there, in one scan, even the TMJ complex and the paranasal sinuses, supernumeraries, and impactions─seen from any angle with the click of a mouse. As an added benefit, when a panoramic view is necessary, the i-CAT® offers two options: a traditional 2-D pan function; and Tru-Pan™, a patented program that, within seconds, delivers precise, “true” pans from 3-D scans that are anatomically accurate, clear, and detailed.
The complete and precise CBCT data can be translated into digital study models and used for CAD/CAM appliance applications, such as SureSmile® robotic orthodontic technology. An i-CAT scan in conjunction with SureSmile® saves time and allows the orthodontist to see not just the crowns of the teeth, but the roots and other dental anatomy below the surface for more comprehensive planning and treatment. Seeing the relationships between the teeth, occlusion, and joints all in one 3-D scan creates more efficient orthodontics.
Incredibly, all of this information is achieved with low radiation exposure to the patient. A single i-CAT scan for a complete orthodontic workup takes less than a minute to capture and reconstruct, and patient progress, if needed, can be monitored with the system’s 5-second, low dose scan. In addition to limiting radiation exposure, time saved also gets the patient from the imaging phase to the consultation and treatment room faster, allowing for shorter appointments and opportunities to add more patients to the daily schedule.
Besides just capturing an image, communicating the information to the patient is an important (and often daunting) aspect in every orthodontic case. Especially in this age of technology, younger patients and their parents will gain better insight into their treatment, and as a result be more compliant, and accepting of treatment. Using a virtual, 3-D tour, orthodontists can show the patient’s teeth, mouth and surrounding vital structures in a way that is unattainable with 2-D methods. Referring dentists and specialists are also kept “in the loop,” since scans are quickly and safely shared with colleagues within the free and freely-shareable i-CATVision™, now featuring Quantum IQ™ image enhancement.
Teachable moments—focus on training and support
Imaging Sciences International offers unmatched special training and support opportunities in a comprehensive training program designed specifically for i-CAT and GXCB-500™ customers to enhance the integration of their of cone beam 3-D system into their practice. Various levels of training range from convenient web training, to comprehensive 2-day courses that feature anatomy and radiation biology, to 3-D scan interpretation taught by Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologists. Professionals and clinicians provide training and education that enhances customers’ use of 3-D imaging. The 3-D Imaging Institute, established by Imaging Sciences and Gendex, offers extensive training programs through seminars, webinars, and the annual International Congress on 3-D Dental Imaging (www.i-CAT3D.com). At users’ meetings and advanced training facilities around the country, dental professionals can learn more about cone beam technology, and its implementation and utilization. Customers can interact with those who have already experienced its benefits. Training and support are valued hallmarks of the i-CAT philosophy.
With the implementation of the cone beam system, Imaging Sciences gives dentists a chance to expand their dental practices and improve patient care. “Cone beam allows the specialist to become even more specialized and the GP to offer a broader set of procedures,” describes Marandola. “At any level of experience, this technology provides a higher level of accuracy for implant treatment. We aim to make sure that the doctor has the right tools to provide the best result. With the i-CAT, the dentist has the patient’s mouth mapped out, like GPS navigation, so there are no surprises during treatment.” As a company, Imaging Sciences International is constantly striving to add more benefits to the 3-D imaging experience. “We put all of our time and energy into doing it right,” says Marandola. “We are doing a lot of research in these areas that will allow us to stay in front of the pack. We hear what the doctors want, and we are responding.”
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