By Marc L. Montgomery DDS
Last year Montgomery Dental Care purchased new dental technology that helps us provide an elevated level of care for our patients and especially my ability to diagnose additional oral issues. We have here what is called a CBCT, but it is actually a 3D radiographic imaging versus our traditional 2-dimensional imaging that most people are familiar with through the years. The diagnostic accuracy of two-dimensional radiographs was inadequate and these low-dose 3D X-ray imaging are a significant improvement.
CBCT scans are especially helpful to dentists in planning more complex procedures like dental implants and full mouth restorations. We can view bone structure, bone density, and a tooth’s nerves better than ever before. Dental implants done using traditional placement techniques are also typically more time-consuming and less accurate.
Meaning, the dental patient gains a more accurate diagnosis, better treatment, and faster care.
Also known as Computerized Tomography, CT scans, or dental cone beam computerized tomography is helpful in multiple ways. They provide an in-depth image that provides dentists with far better detail than a regular dental x-ray. With 3D imaging, dentists can take a tooth or jaw area and create a 3D image where we can actually spin the image around and look at the tooth from all angles. It helps assess a tooth’s health inside out.
For example, the patient in the above image has a dental implant in the lower right quadrant. We have an opportunity to look at its placement. We can actually dissect slices around that implant and get a good diagnosis for how the bone is healing and developing around that implant. We line up all our lines and look over to the screen on right. Then by scrolling from the top to the bottom of the implant we see how the bone is developing around the implant.
This gives the dental patient an advantage over the use of traditional x-rays. Some former problems to the teeth and gums went initially unidentified. The 3D imaging technology can show your dentist either a 2D or a 3D image. It also includes scans of the facial bones and teeth.
Dentists rely on x-rays in order to ensure that the health of your teeth, gums, and the overall oral cavity remains strong and in good medical condition. They are essential; a good dentist will only use 3D imaging when they need to. Dental x-rays allow our dental office to visualize probable abnormalities and pending issues the eye cannot see.
They can also rule out, prevent, or diagnose diseases that may pertain to any abnormalities that may impact the patient’s oral health. For example, a dental implant may be avoided with early dental treatment. But when you need one, it may save you unnecessary escalating costs and oral pain if left unaddressed until the pain is excruciating.
Modern dental technology can assist your dental team when creating your best, personalized treatment plan.
CBCT scans assist in the planning of oral implants because they do a better job of measuring the distance between a tooth’s alveolar crest and the mandibular canal. This enlightenment helps to avoid impingement of inferior alveolar nerve, possible perforation of the mandibular posterior lingual undercut, and diagnoses the density and quality of bone better.
When earlier dental implant surgeries were done, it was typical to perform exploratory surgeries. However, dental x-rays weren’t sufficiently reliable to tell us exactly what bone was present and what its health condition was. Today, in large due to improved computed tomography (CT) scans; we can effectively analyze bone structure in the jaw that can support dental implants.
Also, people can worry less about X-ray safety as computerized tomography or CT scan is a low dose CT scan. One large CBCT scan is equivalent to radiation exposure to a flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Or one dental Panoramic 2D radiograph.
Implant surgery involves performing a surgical procedure for a missing tooth; accurate measurements are especially important for this surgical treatment. For example, an upper dental implant near the nasal cavity involves dental radiographs to analyze the anatomical structure of the inferior part of the maxillary sinus. It is useful in predicting the prognosis of implant surgery. The sinus floor’s ridge resorption after tooth loss is monitored.
In the Scientific Reports December 2020 Three-dimensional CBCT based evaluation of the inferior part of the maxillary sinus: Retrospective Study, Jeong-Hyun Lee states that “the maxillary sinus and inferior wall are 3-D structures in humans and therefore cannot be characterized properly using 2-D imaging”. A 3D image captures a true, digital 3d image of the mouth and allows us to study the mouth in slices, similar to a CT scan.
Montgomery Dental Care in Woodbury, MN has its own CBCT scanner that enables us to perform treatment planning quickly and conveniently. You needn’t wait for a referral to another office for imaging and then wait for the results to come back to ours. We can efficiently and quickly complete evaluations all in one place.
Going forward, the CBCT scanner can also further help with smile makeovers, implant follow-up care and any emerging concerns. This type of modern dental technology aids in the health of your implant by letting us know exactly what’s going on. We anticipate seeing further exciting milestones in dental imaging technology. New studies utilizing 3-D visualization will provide useful data to assist our commitment to providing the best long-term dental implant outcomes.
You can experience first-hand the technology that helps us provide the best dental implant procedures.
I just want to thank you and your staff for the outstanding dental care that I have received from your practice over the past fifteen years. I especially appreciate your attention to detail, high quality work, in depth knowledge, clear communication, good listening skills and your commitment to invest in more advanced technology making my visits more pleasant. Your staff is always friendly, extremely accommodating and very professional.