So if you follow our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page, you may have heard that I recently became the first female dentist to perform a live patient implant surgery for Sirona. All week at the CEREC30 convention, which our whole office attended, people were patting me on the back and congratulating me for that accomplishment. And while the significance of being the first female to accomplish this feat is not taken lightly, it was more meaningful to hear from my colleagues that I did a great job or that I convinced other dentists around the world to get in the game and start doing this procedure themselves.

While I understand the need for women to break barriers, I personally feel that it is more important to be the best at something, and if being the best also happens to make you the first, then that’s just the icing on the cake. Thankfully, this was one of those experiences. So how does something like this happen you ask? Let me tell ya.

In July of 2014, we made the decision to purchase the king daddy of all dental CBCT machines, the Sirona Galileos. This bad boy is the Rolls Royce of 3D dental imaging. At the time I remember hearing something like only 5% of dental offices having this technology. Don’t know what that number is now but it’s increasing exponentially so we wanted to be ahead of the curve.

Because of our experience with the Galileos, earlier this summer we were approached by Sirona to perform the live implant surgery for their 3D Summit in Las Vegas. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. In fact, until it was over I was s#&%%ng bricks! Sirona, for those of you who don’t know, is “the world’s largest manufacturer of dental technology and is the clear innovation leader in dentistry” – per their website, and they asked me!

Anyway, every month Sirona hosts these 3D Summits all around the country. At each event they invite a local doc to perform the live surgery. The purpose of these events is to help broaden the skills of general dentists by showing them what modern dental technology can do by integrating digital radiography and 3D digital imaging. More specifically how to integrate a 3D x-ray with a digital impression of the mouth to perform fully guided implant surgery. While I’ve become pretty proficient with this procedure, what made it nerve-wracking was that it was taking place the day before Cerec30, Sirona’s largest world-wide gathering of digital dentists. With over 6000+ attendees it was the largest digital dentistry convention in the country. Literally the who’s who of modern dentistry could be watching.

Fast forward to the day before the surgery. We had prepared to close the office because we were told Sirona would be sending a couple cameras, some sound people, and a satellite truck. No big deal, we’ve had a camera crew in here before. Boy were we surprised. Around 4:00 pm a Penske truck pulls up and people start unloading crates and crates of equipment. There was literally no place to walk at Dee for Dentist. Every nook and cranny was filled with A/V equipment.

The day of the surgery our office was closed. Mike purposely set the temp in the office at 70 degrees to make sure we would be comfortable at the time of surgery. Unbeknownst to us, the surgery wouldn’t take place until 4:30 that afternoon. Suzanne actually brought out a space heater for the front desk because it was so cold all day. When the surgery finally started, I got my first taste of how things are done on camera. Apparently, things have to move much slower when being filmed to give the audience time to see what is going on and for the procedure to be explained. This was probably the most frustrating part for me because I just wanted to get through it. Thankfully, I had an amazing patient and a great MC narrating the surgery, thanks T-Bone!!! (T-Bone by the way, was the dentist that presented the closing lecture at Cerec30 – I wanna be like him when I grow up!)

15 minutes and we were done! There were a couple minor hiccups but for the most part, it could not have gone any smoother. As soon as we were done, I had to rush and change to head to the Venetian with T-Bone for a post summit Q & A and reception. It wasn’t until I got there that I found out I was the first female in over 50 of these summits. I’m seriously thankful that I didn’t find that out til then.

What a great experience. I’d do that again in a heartbeat. As always, I have tons of people to thank for making this all possible. First and foremost thank you to our patient Joe for being so patient with us through the entire process. Thank you to my amazing team for all their help and support through this whole thing. Thanks to our families that watched our babies while we were busy with this and into Cerec30! Thank you to T-Bone for calming my nerves. Thank you to Dr. Neal Patel for consulting on the case and for sending Faith & Mariana to help. Thank you to the A/V crew for making us look good. Thank you to our Patterson family: Jesse, Emily, Evan, Billie, Ryan, and Vince. Thank you to Todd & Autumn from Straumann for their support and for donating the implant. Finally, thank you to everyone at Sirona and SICAT: Bob, Joe, Amanda, Xenia, Kim, Jochen, and all the other people I didn’t meet formally for making this whole thing possible. I think I got everyone covered.

What a great memory that I’ll have forever. Thank you.