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An interview with Doctor George (Georgios) Glykos, Radiologist, DentQ
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George (Georgios) Glykos

  • Head Dental Radiologist
  • DentQ International
  • Works with DentQ since January 2021

Dr. Glykos served as a dental surgeon in Italy and Greece for 25 years, specializing in oral surgery, implantology and periodontology, when he decided to become a radiologist and did Fellowship in Radio-diagnostics for 6 years.

Currently, George serves as a senior dental imaging consultant, and brings with him unmatched practical experience and in-depth knowledge in Dental Radiology, which became his passion and lifetime mission.

George, when you served as a dental surgeon, what was your approach to practicing dentistry, and was it successful?

Initially, I did not plan to become a dentist. I graduated as a medical doctor in Italy in 1988, and wanted to specialize in Psychiatry, but there were no vacancies for Psychiatry studies, so I decided to study Dental Surgery instead. I started to work as a dentist already as a surgeon, while combining general dentistry services as well. I was very successful both in the clinical aspects and in evoking trust among patients. After a short internship in an expert’s clinic, I soon opened my own dental clinic, and it grew so fast that I found myself selling the clinic with its clientele to a dental clinic chain and opened a new clinic in another neighborhood. It turned out successful again, so during my dentistry years I have opened, leveraged, and sold dental clinics several times, in Milano and elsewhere in Italy. It was a wonderful adventure – a journey in which I dwelt deeper and deeper into dental medicine, and fell in love with the field, while enjoying the cultural variety and the encounters with patients all over Italy. Business wise it was also quite rewarding, to grow up baby clinics and release them after they matured.

It seems you had a very successful and fulfilling career. What made you switch from Dental Surgery to Dental Radiology?

One of my first encounters with Dental Radiology took place many years ago, when I attempted to perform an Intraoral scan, and the patient puked on me. I realized that the Intraoral scanner evoked the Pharyngeal reflex with this patient.

During my years as a Dental Surgeon, the more I was exposed to Dental Radiology, the more I found it fascinating. Radiology provides a scientific way to better understand pathologies. I prefer to base my clinical observation and decision making on high-quality, precise, and scientific data, including 3D scans.

With time, Dental Radiology became more and more important to me. It became an obsession of mine – something that really thrills and excites me. So, I decided to complete another specialty, in Radiology, which I did during 2013-2019. The journey I took was from clinical dentistry into expanded medical knowledge, and then back to the dental world, this time as a Dental Radiologist. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Following this journey, do you feel you have a competitive edge in Dental Radiology, and if so – please provide some examples.

I am very curious and relentless by nature, ever-learning and improving. This led me to specialize in several medical fields: general medicine, dental surgery, radiology, and even thermal medicine. The more I learned, the more I managed to combine multi-disciplinary methods in my practice, and to see pathologies in the broader holistic perspective, in which all body systems are related and influence each other.

As a Dental Radiologist that also practiced Dental surgery with thousands of patients, I do see some considerable gaps between my approach and knowledge to that of my colleagues. Implantologists, for example, mainly concentrate on volumetric dimensions: how thick is the bone and where is the mandibular canal located. However, when reviewing a DICOM file they have less time to inspect findings that are not related to the bone structure and the canal.  Radiologists, on the other hand, often treat Dental Radiology as a “stepdaughter” of Medical Radiology and have no expertise in Dentistry and in dental pathologies. They often describe everything they see in their radiology reports, which for the dentist is often too much information.

With my background, I know to detect phantoms and artifacts in dental x-ray scans, and to ignore them in my reports. False positive can cause a lot of unnecessary worries and expenses, so this is important. In addition, I really understand the practical aspects of dentistry, and what dentists need in order to succeed. For example, I understand how to detect and what differentiates various bone types, while taking into consideration the practical aspects of implant procedures. On the D1 to D4 scale of bone thickness and density, I know from my hands-on experience that D1 is a bone that is too thick (which may cause the drill to get too warm), D2-D3 are compatible for implant surgery, while D4 is too thin (thus there is not enough bone to support the implant).

What do you love about your profession these days?

For me, it is like a puzzle, a riddle, a medical problem that requires putting all the findings and the knowledge pieces together. So, every day I get to crack mysteries, and by doing so I can help patients significantly. For example, to detect if a pathology is temporomandibular joint disorder or a Squamous cell carcinoma, which is rare and often ignored, but is lethal when undetected and untreated. I cannot imagine a more rewarding job than solving intriguing riddles and saving lives.

A tip to dentists, to help their clinic grow:

As someone that initiated and groomed several successful clinics, the first thing to know is that it is all about the people. For a clinic to succeed, it is crucial to select your team carefully and wisely. You need good people on your side, that are polite, tolerant, have patience and can provide high quality of service. Always have at least one month trial in their contract, since the service quality they provide can only be tested in real practice.

Tell us about an interesting upcoming technology in Dental Radiology?

Radiology is ever evolving, with various devices and technologies providing more accurate and precise information every day. Adapting new and existing technologies into dental radiology is what makes the field evolve even further. For example – MRI is not so common in Dental Radiology, but it is probably the only technology that enables us to predict if TMJ disorders are reversible. Another good example are Artificial Intelligence (AI) diagnostic tools. I already use AI solutions today, which at DentQ we fully incorporate into the workflow. These AI tools help me improve and validate my Dental Radiology reports.

With all your vast dental experience, can AI Diagnostic tools still enhance your capabilities, and detect things that you do not detect on your own?

To begin with, I must stress that there is nothing wrong in admitting that AI tools can enhance our capabilities, and in this case, save time and add layers of information and important insights. It’s like the best second opinion you can get, at a fraction of the cost and the time it would take to consult with another expert (I sometimes do consult with experts as well, as some complicated cases require thorough consideration). And if I find it useful to use Diagnostics AI solutions, probably dentists that are not Dental Radiology experts, and Radiologists that are not Dentistry experts, should probably find these automated 2nd opinion tools very useful.

Specifically, DiagnoCat’s AI platform, which we use, is doing for example an excellent job in detecting caries and teeth decay. DiagnoCat’s analysis takes only several minutes and provides high-quality data and insights about tooth decay. This analysis would take a lot of effort and a long time for the radiologist, and even more so for the dentist. Personally, I find this AI ability, to detect cavities, very useful, and am not ashamed to declare that this AI-based solution already does a better and more cost-effective job than I do in this respect. Naturally, I can always take the AI recommendations into consideration, and combine it with my own experience, before writing a radiology report.

Why aren’t you personally threatened by AI and machine learning solutions? Aren’t you afraid such solutions are going to replace you one day?

On the contrary, I see these sophisticated technologies as an extension of me, as tools that can help me provide better service, better care to the patients. Besides, there is always work for someone that can combine multiple disciplines and technologies, and see the overall picture, in which cavities, bone thickness or imaging artifacts are only some of the components that hint on the medical condition and the recommended treatment.

What is your prediction for the future of Dental Radiology?

Dental Radiology is still a young discipline, which rapidly evolves. In this field, like Alice in Wonderland, you need to run constantly just to remain in the same place. This keeps me alert and awake, and I happily embrace the rapid progress in Dental Imaging. We are only scratching the surface now, and things are changing and will keep on changing very fast in the coming decade. So, I find it extremely difficult to provide long range predictions about Dental Radiology. But the trends I already witness, and my predictions for the near and mid-range future of Dental accordingly, include:

  • A transition from 2D x-ray to 3D and even to 4D (tracking changes over time)
  • Usage of 2D Ultrasound in dentistry, for soft tissues diagnostics
  • Digital Dentistry becoming a standard of care (e.g. – usage of STL models and 3D printing)

Last question, George: you seem so busy at work, how do you manage work-life balance? What do you do in your free time to regain energy?

Well, I have to admit I am a workaholic, and not so balanced… But since my work fascinates me, I do enjoy a good quality of life. In my leisure time I like to do things with my son, and to travel outdoors in the wild and to other countries, for example to travel to rural areas in Spain.

Thank you for this interview, George. We wish you many more years of constant learning, fulfillment and enthusiasm, many solved mysteries, and quality time on and off work.

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