Whether you’re just starting treatment or evaluating the results of a procedure, 3D imaging can be a very valuable tool in your dental health.
Unlike traditional x-rays, the 3D imaging system can create either a 2D or a 3D image, & includes scans of your tissues in addition to bones & teeth. The dentist can zoom in on the scan, rotate it & view it at any angle, & even look through scans at different depths. We can visualize your teeth, roots, gums, bones, nerves, & airways & how all of these structures relate to each other.
What Is 3D Dental Imaging?
3D dental imaging is sometimes referred to as cone beam CT scanning, which is the technology that makes the scan possible. The name “cone beam” comes from the precise cone shape of the invisible x-ray beam that the scanner emits. By sending out the beam at different angles, the machine forms an image of your head from many different perspectives, which are compiled to create a complete 3D representation.
Types of 3D Imaging
The large variety in the types of images a 3D x-ray machine can generate means that it can apply to many different treatments & dental situations. 3D dental imaging has applications in endodontics (root canals), oral surgery, orthodontics, prosthodontics, sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, & more. Because the image is of your entire mouth & even your entire head, we can see how your teeth relate to each other in terms of alignment, making it easier to create detailed treatment plans for straightening teeth or replacing them.
3D Dental Scan Is Painless
Getting a 3D dental scan is completely painless, takes only a few minutes total & requires no preparation beforehand. The cone beam CT scanner is mounted on an arm that rotates around your head while you stand or sit under it. You will be asked to place your chin on a special platform & the entire scanner can be raised or lowered to a height that is comfortable for you. Your only task during the scanning process is to hold as still as possible. The scan usually lasts less than half a minute.
- 3D x-ray doesn’t require you to bite down on a sensor like bite-wing x-rays, but you may be asked to bite down on a small disposable tab to help ensure alignment.
- To get an accurate image, your face must be centered & your mouth level.
- A brace or strap may be used to keep your head still.
- The team member carrying out the scan will ensure you’re positioned properly before performing the scan.
3D Imaging Emits Less Radiation
Dental cone beam CT machines emit less radiation than traditional CT scans & traditional film x-rays, so your exposure is brief & minimal. You can be draped with a lead vest if desired. Pregnant women should inform the dentist of their situation before getting a 3D x-ray or x-rays of any kind.
3D Dental Imaging Is Instantaneous
The 3D x-ray scanner creates a 3D digital image instantaneously, meaning there’s no waiting for film to develop. The fact that the images are digital also makes it very easy to share your scans with any specialist dentists who may be involved in your care, such as an orthodontist or a prosthodontist. We’re proud to offer this advanced technology because it allows us to provide every patient with more accurate, efficient & successful dental care.