In the past, planning for dental surgery required an oral surgeon to rely on a two-dimensional image of a patient’s facial bone structure obtained through a traditional x-ray. This did not create an ideal scenario for treatment planning, and oral surgeons often encountered some unexpected aspects of the surgical site, which required adjustments mid-procedure.
Now, an oral surgeon can incorporate newer technology that offers a more realistic perspective of the patient’s facial structures – three-dimensional imaging.
These images are produced by a cone beam computed tomography scanner, which captures slices of the patient’s facial structures and then combines them to create a 3-D image. The result is an anatomically correct reconstruction of the face and skull. In an office equipped with such a scanner, the images are available almost instantaneously, and with CBCT scans, the patient is exposed to lower levels of radiation than with medical CT scans.
Those lifelike images can aid an oral surgeon in diagnosing a patient’s condition because they make any abnormalities more highly visible. Additionally, they offer better contrast between different types of tissue, such as bone and tendon, than traditional x-rays do. This can assist oral surgeons in determining the cause of a temporomandibular joint disorder, for example.
This technology is also tremendously valuable in the process of planning dental surgery because it gives the oral surgeon a more realistic image of the surgical site. This facilitates planning and reduces the likelihood of surprises during the procedure.
This imaging technology can be useful in a variety of patient scenarios. In particular, three-dimensional CBCT scans are especially beneficial for dental implant treatment planning. They facilitate an analysis of the bone quality at the implant site, which is essential to long-term dental implant success. 3D imaging can also indicate the optimal location and angle for the dental implant.
When you consult with an oral surgeon at Texas Oral Surgery Specialists, ask if three-dimensional imaging will be used in your care. It can enhance the process significantly.