Physicians have relied on computerized axial tomography scans (CAT), for many years. CAT scans are an X-ray procedure that uses many different X-ray images with the help of computers to generate cross-sectional or even 3D views of internal organs and structures within the body. A knee replacement surgery, for example, would never be performed without first examining 3D imaging.
More recently however, dentists have begun to rely on 3D imaging techniques and scans to provide them with a detailed view of the mouth and skull. The advantage that 3D imaging holds over regular dental x-rays is that the bone structure, bone density, tissues and nerves can be viewed clearly.
3D scans can be completed in less than half a minute. This means that far less radiation enters the body than if a regular set of regular x-rays were taken. The main use for scans is as an aid to plan dental implant treatment and other oral surgery.
Dental implants are the most sophisticated replacement for missing teeth, but have historically proven to be time-consuming to place. 3D scans vastly reduce the time it takes to implant teeth.
How are scans used?
3D scans are advantageous because they allow the dentist to magnify specific areas of the face. In addition, the dentist can easily view cross-sectional “slices” of the jaw, which makes planning treatment easier and faster.
Here are some of the main ways in which scans are used in dentistry:
Actual Patient with Gum Recession of the lower two front teeth. Note other sites with thinning bone. 22 years old.
How are scans performed?
Previous patients report the scanner is comfortable because they remain in a sitting position at all times. Additionally, the scanner provides an open environment, meaning that claustrophobic feelings are eliminated. The scan is an incredible tool that is minimizing the cost of dental treatment, reducing treatment time and enhancing the end results of dental surgery.
If you have questions or concerns about scans or 3D imaging, please contact our office.
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