Dental Cone Beam Imaging
Recently, dental cone beam imaging, a type of CT scanning, was introduced to dentistry. Computer Tomography (CT) is an imaging method that uses computerized technology to convert 2 dimensional images into a 3 dimensional (3D) picture. These pictures can provide renderings of both soft and hard tissues in the body which then can be examined in detail using computer software. Dental cone beam imaging provides the doctor more accurate information and 10 times less radiation to the patient than the machines traditionally used in medicine. What this means to patients who have chosen to replace missing teeth, is that now the doctor can examine, diagnose and plan treatment with a level precision not possible in the past. This more exact approach using dental cone beam imaging means fewer complications, less invasive therapy and quicker healing times for the patient.
Specifically, the 3D representation of the jaw seen on the CT scan enables the implant treatment team (the restorative dentist, periodontal surgeon and dental lab technician) to see the patient anatomy available for dental implants. The treatment team is able to work with an exact replica of the patient’s jawbone and gum tissue when choosing the size, location and angulation of the implant. Any procedures required to prepare the site for implants can be performed “virtually” on the computer using the dental cone beam tomography. This software is accurate within a tenth of a millimeter and shows the implant in its ideal position. Precise implant placement is critical in order to provide the patient the most esthetic and functional form of tooth replacement .
In some cases a surgical guide based on the cone beam imaging result is fabricated by the dental lab prior to treatment. This customized guide allows the surgeon to perform the procedure without any incisions at all. Less invasive treatment means more comfort for the patient and quicker healing times.
The Academy of Osseointegration now considers dental cone beam technology “the standard of care” for implant procedures. In fact, The American Board of Periodontology and American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons advises the use of exact imaging and surgical guides for dental implant placement. Unfortunately due to the great expense and training required to provide this service to patients, very few offices in Central Ohio currently utilize CT scanning technology in their offices.
When an individual loses a tooth, there are important decisions to be made. Dr. Stoner and Dr. Murphy are board Certified Periodontists specializing in placing dental implants and treating periodontal disease.