Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Greatest Game Changer in Dentistry: Cone Beam 3D CT Scan for Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

As most of you are aware, we have moved into a wonderful new facility located across the street from Walgreens in Park Ridge.  We invite you to take a tour of our new office via our website at  Unfortunately, our old Panorex x-ray machine was too old to make the move so we had to upgrade.  The piece of equipment we have in place now to replace our old machine is an Instrumentarium Orthopantomograph OP300. There are many exciting new features of this machine, a few of which we will be discussing in this blog.

Due to the latest digital technology, the OP300 significantly decreases the dosage and exposure to capture an image.  There is a significant reduction in dosage from our old machine compared to this current one. One full-mouth Panorex image on our new unit is equal in dosage to two normal digital x-rays.  The OP300 does an outstanding job capturing the whole mouth, sinuses, and temporomandibular joints in a computerized file format that allows excellent viewing and diagnosis.  There is a significant reduction in expense and waste by removing the need for film and processing chemicals.

I think the most exciting feature this new technology offers is that it captures cone beam 3D CT images.  By being able to rotate 360 degrees around a tooth, I have been able to see things going on that were never visible with standard x-rays. Here are some examples of some of the images we have taken so far.  On the left are traditional x-rays, and on the right are cross-sectional screen shots of the same teeth taken with this 3D CT technology.

By viewing only a traditional x-ray, we miss very valuable information which can affect the outcome of treatment.  The top left root canal-treated tooth could have been diagnosed for re-treatment based on this traditional x-ray.  The 3D CT image(on the upper right) saved a patient from a procedure that ultimately would have failed again due to a root defect.  The lower image shows a tooth that had a draining abscess and required root canal therapy.  The traditional x-ray on the lower left shows a single canal.  The 3D image on the right shows a canal/defect exiting the tooth at mid root and a very unique internal canal anatomy which would affect the outcome of treatment.  As you can imagine, this is a game changer for dentistry and our patients.  Our office is one of the first in Central Wisconsin to offer this low-dosage 3D cone beam CT technology.  One of these 3D scans is equivalent to a set of traditional Bitewing x-rays(4 films D-Speed).  This is also up to 50 times less dosage as compared to a medical CT of the head.  Our next blog will discuss using this technology for implant treatment planning and placement!  

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