2D imaging is valuable to dentistry. X-ray images show the position, structure, and alignment of the teeth and the jaw. On the other hand, with 3D imaging, orthodontists can accurately determine depths and map craniofacial structures. So, while 3D imaging does add to the total cost of dental treatments, patients stand to benefit more from it.
Dentists can make accurate diagnoses and orthodontic treatments, especially for dental implants. Manteca-based dental clinic Smile Designs Dentistry also suggests that the total cost of dental implants depends on other factors like the number of implants, the dentist’s experience, and one’s insurance coverage. Hence, skipping on 3D imaging may not necessarily lower your bill. You’ll only make it less easy for your dentist to make an accurate diagnosis.
Orthodontic clinics today use these 3D imaging techniques:
Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT)
CBCT machines are similar to CAT machines in hospitals, but they have a smaller scope. CBCT takes scans of the head using an x-ray tube that rotates around it instead of the entire body. The radiation it emits is 15 times lower than the CT scanner, and it cost less, too. CBCT scans can show details, such as the effect of impacted teeth on adjacent teeth.
Micro-Computed Tomography (MCT)
MCT is like a CT scan except that it focuses on a smaller area. Each image it produces has a significantly higher resolution compared to the images produced by a CAT scanner, or even a CBCT machine. This makes MCT ideal for 3D microscopy in endodontics, orthodontics, and TMJ, to name a few.
3D Laser Scanning
A common machine in small practices, the 3D laser scanner is user-friendly and less intimidating for dentistry patients. Many dentists use a portable, hand-held laser scanner, but there are also other bulkier versions that require patients to lay on a bed as a robotic arm runs a laser scanner before the patient’s mouth.
These scanners are wise investments for orthodontic practices and a huge benefit for patients. Along with 3D printers and other machines that fabricate orthodontic appliances using data from 3D imagery, practices can give provide better care for their patients, as well.