Cone Beam 3D Imaging

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 cone beam 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.

Our practice currently uses the Carestream® 9300 cone beam scanner which  can complete a scan in less than 15 seconds. This minimal radiation, high resolution cone beams scanner can generate extremely accurate 3D images but can also produce incredible 2D panoramic images with significantly less radiation than older panoramic units.  This means that far less radiation enters the body than if a regular set of bitewing  or full mouth series x-rays were taken. Cone beam scans are  an invaluable aid in planning dental implant treatment and also assist in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital, acquired, and developmental abnormalities of the maxillofacial area.

Dental implants are the most sophisticated replacement option for missing teeth, but have historically proven to be time-consuming to place.  Cone beam scans vastly reduce the time it takes to implant teeth and will likely enhance the success rate of implant procedures due to improved treatment planning accuracy. 

How are cone beam scans used?

 Cone beam 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 cone beam scans are used in dentistry:

  • Assess the quality of the jawbone where the implant will be placed.
  • Determine where nerves are located.
  • Diagnose tumors and disease in the early stages.
  • Measure the density of the jawbone where the implant will be placed.
  • Pinpoint the most effective placement for implants, including the angle of best fit.
  • Plan the complete surgical procedure in advance, from start to finish.
  • Precisely decide on the appropriate size and type of implants.
  • View exact orientation and position of each tooth.
  • View impacted teeth.

How are cone beam scans performed?

Cone beam scans are quick and simple to perform.  A Cone Beam Imaging System is at the heart of the Carestream® 9300 scanner.  During the scan, the patient is able to stand or sit in a chair or wheelchair.  A simple 12 second cone beam scan can generate literally hundreds of high resolution images of the face.  These pictures are used to compile an exact 3D image of the inner mechanisms of the face and jaw.  The oral surgeon is able to zoom in on specific areas and view them from alternate angles.

Previous patients report that the Carestream®  scanner is comfortable because the scanner provides an open environment, meaning that claustrophobic feelings are eliminated.  The Carestream® 9300 scanner is an incredible tool that is minimizing the cost of oral and maxillofacial surgery treatment, reducing treatment time, and enhancing the end results of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

If you have questions  about our Carestream® 9300 scanner or 3D imaging, please contact our office.