Imaging is one of the most important tools we rely on here at Clackamas Implant & Oral Surgery Center for accurate evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. While traditional two dimensional (2D) static imaging can be helpful, it has its limitations. Fortunately, three dimensional (3D) imaging is now possible using advanced technological equipment. 3D imaging techniques provide us with a clear and detailed view of what is going on in the problem area, so we can accurately diagnose and plan appropriate treatment procedures to address it.
3D Imaging Techniques and Their Advantages
To date, several 3D imaging techniques have already been developed, but three of the most popular include computed tomography (CT) imaging or scanner, cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT scans can provide detailed structural information, including a 3D report about soft and hard tissues. It is also a very effective tool in diagnosing and examining certain disorders such as pathologies of salivary glands, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), maxillary sinus, as well as trauma and fractures to the mouth and face.
While CT scanners provide clear and useful 3D images, CBCT devices have features that address the limitations of CT scanners. CBCT differs from other scanners regarding the time it takes to complete the scan, the quality of resolution, the level of radiation exposure, the position of the patient during the procedure, ease of use, and its ability to scan the entire head area. CBCT is advantageous to the patient in our practice because it emits 98% less radiation, it is generally less expensive than CT scans, it provides quick results, which can greatly help in easing the anxiety of patients, and its 3D data can be displayed and arranged using a personal computer, which is very advantageous for our dentists.
MRI is essentially generating images of water in the tissues of the body. This technique is suitable for studying and assessing tumors and skeletal physiology, as well as in monitoring the condition of grafts. MRI is considered the best imaging technique for investigating TMJ disorders, considering that it provides information about joint pain, adhesion and perforation of articular disc, and other significant data.
2D vs 3D Imaging
2D imaging lags behind 3D imaging techniques in many respects. For one, it cannot produce fine anatomical details. Secondly, structures captured that is not within the scope of the radiological source and detectors are not sharp and even distorted. 2D imaging also produces overlapping images which makes it difficult for us to examine the structure accurately.
3D imaging benefits us more since it allows us to visualize the entire mouth in detail, so we can readily see what areas need attention. With 3D imaging methods, we can also zone in on specific areas that we want to examine more closely, regardless of how small the structure is. It also allows us to reorganize data, manipulate the images for a better view, and we can even add an annotation if we need to. All the information and date that we can generate from 3D imaging help us in identifying dental conditions and in planning the most suitable and beneficial treatment options.
If you want to know more about 3D imaging, call us at Clackamas Implant & Oral Surgery Center. Our friendly staff is always available to address all your dental related concerns at 503-652-8080.