Let’s learn about 3D Imaging

When you first come in for a consultation that has to do with an extraction or implants, we take a 3D x-ray of your teeth and the surrounding bone.

Why 3-D Imaging?


3D imaging can catch potential problems in a more precise way than a regular 2D x-ray could. Take for example the trigeminal nerve that runs along the inside of the lower jaw, usually around where wisdom teeth are located. With a 3D x-ray, we can see if the tooth root is curved or hooked around the nerve in a way a 2D x-ray couldn’t show you. This information helps the doctor to complete the procedure with the highest level of safety.  A 3D x-ray can also detect abscesses or other problems that would be hidden behind roots or crowns of teeth in a regular 2D view.  2D x-rays are distorted by different angles of positioning and do not provide an accurate measurement.  3D machines correct for any variations in position and provide an accurate way of measuring distances.  This is a vital difference when measuring the distance from vital structures such as roots, nerves, and sinuses.


3-D Imaging for Dental Implants

3D imaging is also very important in placing dental implants. Anatomy of the jaws and teeth is highly variable. Regular 2D x-rays will only show the height of the bone, but often will not show variations such as narrow spots, S-curves, bone defects, accessory nerves, or close roots. Placing implants without this vital information increases risk and failures. A 3D view gives the surgeon a much more complete understanding of the unique challenges for each individual patient. Implants that appear to be simple on a 2D x-ray may actually be very complex, and without that information, the dentist would not even be aware of the problem let alone know how to deal with it. In that case they would not even know why the implant ultimately failed.

3D imaging also connects with other technologies that significantly increase the accuracy of implant placement. Specialized software allows implants to be placed virtually before the surgery, thus alerting the surgeon to situations that require special consideration before the surgery even starts. A 3D printer can print a guide splint that transfers the surgical plan from the computer screen to the patient, allowing the surgeon to perform the placement with precision and according to a predetermined plan. Wires or other guides can be evaluated in 3D prior to drilling the implant site to insure correct alignment and safe positioning.


In General

Oral surgery is a highly specialized area of surgery within an area with extremely tight space limitations. Safe navigation of these conditions requires advanced instrumentation including 3D imaging as well as at least 4 years of additional training to be able to reliably use them.

Learn More! Find out more about what to expect on during your first appointment.

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