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 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 bone structure, bone density, tissues, and nerves can be viewed clearly.
CAT scans can be completed in less than half a minute. The main use for CAT scans is as an aid to plan dental implant treatment, root canals and other oral surgery.
How are CAT scans used?
CAT 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 these 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.
If you have questions or concerns about 3D imaging, please contact our office.