Dental x-rays have been a regular part of dental examinations for over 125 years. X-rays are an essential tool for the Renovo Endodontic Studio team because they allow us to see things we can’t see with a blind eye. With dental x-rays, we can see inside and between the teeth and inside the bone.
While x-rays have been an invaluable part of dental services (and we continue to use them extensively for their detailed, close-up accuracy), we also like utilizing other diagnostic tools. One of our favorites is 3D imaging technology, or 3D cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) technology.
In this blog, we’ll explain what 3D imaging and computed tomography are, as well as why they’re an integral part of our endodontic practice. In part two of our 3D imaging series, we’ll explain how we specifically use this technology to help our patients.
Dental x-rays provide us with helpful information about the health of your teeth, bones, and gums. Unfortunately, they don’t tell us the whole story. In fact, there are many dental health conditions that we can’t see intraorally or with dental x-rays, which is why we utilize the latest 3D imaging technology.
With CBCT technology, we can see teeth, bones, and soft tissues from multiple dimensions. Our team can see facial bones, including the jawbone. We can also see the sinuses, the mental and incisal foramina, nerves, soft tissues (like the tongue and gingiva), and of course, the teeth.
Using 3D technology, we can see all the surfaces of these structures and inside them. Nothing is hidden, making this a vital tool for diagnosing issues and creating treatment plans for our patients.
Here are some other interesting facts about this technology and why we utilize it.
Tomography is a technique that healthcare professionals use to see a cross-section of the human body or a part of it. Our Renovo providers use an x-ray machine to get this image.
Computed tomography consists of getting this image through the use of a computer, which controls the motion of the image source (x-ray or ultrasound). The computer then processes the data it receives and produces an image.
Our 3D imaging uses cone beam technology, a technique in which the x-rays are divergent and form a cone, creating an accurate, 3D image instead of one that’s only two-dimensional. CBCT is considered one of the most significant medical diagnostic imaging modalities. It can provide incredibly detailed information (sub-millimeter resolution), offering images with better diagnostic quality than ever before.
Some patients who visit their dentist (whether to see their general dentist or our Renovo endodontic team) worry about getting dental x-rays. Since ionizing radiation is a known carcinogen, their concern is entirely understandable.
To provide optimal care, we take steps to reduce a patient’s exposure to radiation. This includes providing them with protective lead apron coverings and digital x-rays, which have up to 80% lower levels of radiation than traditional x-rays and less radiation than spending a day in the sun.
3D imaging releases more radiation than a single dental x-ray. However, we only prescribe CBCT when necessary (not at every visit), and the amount of exposure is minimal. The entire process takes just a few seconds, meaning there’s approximately 10 times less exposure than with conventional CT scans.
In the past, when we needed more detailed imaging, we might’ve referred you to your general physician, a local clinic, or a hospital. Now that we have the imaging tools in our office, we can help our patients save time and money by taking the image in our office during your appointment.
Another perk of having a 3D imaging machine in our Renovo endodontic studio is that our group of specialists can analyze the images immediately, providing you with insight right away. You’ll get a diagnosis faster, understand why you need treatment, and have a better idea of which treatment option is best for your needs.
The idea of “more involved” imaging may sound somewhat anxiety-inducing, but don’t worry! The process is over before you know it. All you have to do is stand still for a few seconds with your chin on a chin rest. It’s completely painless.
Your Renovo endodontic team uses 3D imaging in three ways:
The equipment needed to incorporate 3D imaging into our Renovo endodontic practice is pricey and requires thorough training to fully and properly utilize. But that is a small price to pay because it means we get to offer our patients the very best endodontic care.
Our patients and their health always come first, and our team will do whatever we can to be better diagnosticians and treatment providers. You can have confidence that you will receive optimal, high-quality care every time you visit Renovo.
Do you have questions about 3D imaging or other technology we use to make our patients more comfortable while providing them with exceptional care? Contact our team to learn more!