In a world of 3D video games, 3D movies, and 3D printing, we are thrilled to have 3D imaging at our office! We added this technology not because it’s trendy, but because it allows us to visualize your teeth and jaws with better clarity than ever before. Being able to see better helps us to diagnose better, which allows us to provide treatment plans that are more accurate, timely, and cost-effective!
The technology is called Cone Beam Computed Tomography, or CBCT. Computed Tomography has been around for a long time in the medical field but only recently has it come into use for dentistry. “Cone Beam” simply means it is capturing a relatively small area for the image, which is ideal for our purposes. A standard dental X-ray only shows us two dimensions: up/down (height) and right/left (width), but not front/back (depth). Using CBCT we can find things that often don’t show up on a standard X-ray, such as a cracked tooth or where an infection is coming from.
In addition, the CBCT allows us to “virtually” place dental implants on a patient as part of the treatment planning phase, which we then use to make a 3D-printed surgical guide. The actual implant placement appointment is therefore quick and systematic with no guesswork. Using this technology, most implant placement appointments take less than half an hour!
A CBCT scan is not appropriate for every situation as regular dental X-rays still do an excellent job and remain the standard imaging choice. However when the situation is warranted, a CBCT image can be taken to give us a more detailed view of a specific area. This image is then reviewed by Dr. McGann and the Oral Radiology department at the University of Minnesota. Once the reviews are complete the results are discussed with the patient and a treatment plan is created.
For more information you can check out the following article that answers many common questions: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dentalconect. We would also be happy to demonstrate the technology here at the office and answer any other questions you may have!