Dental technology: what are the different uses of 3D ?

Horizontal close-up image of dentist holding digital tablet and showing an x-ray image.
01 Mar 2018

While some things may have stayed more or less the same over the years, there are other areas where dental technology has made significant advances, allowing your dentist to provide better service than ever. So where have the biggest changes occurred? Rather than using X-rays, an increasing number of dentists are turning to 3D imaging technology to better diagnose and treat dental health issues.

What Is 3D Dental Imaging?

Unlike traditional X-rays, which only provide two-dimensional images, 3D imaging technology is able to create a full 3D recreation of the inside of your mouth. This is done using a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) machine. This specialized machine is able to complete a full scan of your mouth in 40 seconds or less — much shorter than it would take to perform a series of X-rays. A CBCT machine will accurately capture images the first time — you won’t have to worry about redoing your X-rays because of improper machine alignment or other such problems.

This 3D technology captures highly detailed images of the entire mouth — no area is missed, and hundreds of images can be produced from a single scan. Both bone and soft tissue scans are completed during the same procedure. The high resolution quality of the images also allows dentists to zoom in on a specific area to get a closer look at potential issues that may be affecting their patient.

What are the Benefits of 3D Dental Technology?

3D dental technology doesn’t just help you save time during your dental visit — it also ensures higher quality care by giving your dentist a better understanding of your overall oral health. A 360-degree view gives a precise outlook on how your teeth are aligned with each other. Dentists can perform a closer examination at the roots of a single tooth, or examine other areas that would be hard to look at with a traditional X-ray.

This makes it easier for your dentist to diagnose potential issues and prepare you to receive the treatments that will best serve your dental health needs. This can prove highly beneficial for all types of dental services, ranging from simple orthodontic treatments to more advanced cosmetic and implant services. For example, 3D imaging’s big-picture look at tooth alignment makes it much easier to determine the proper placement for an implant. This way, an implant can be custom-fitted for more effective (and lasting) treatment. 3D imaging can also improve treatment planning for bone grafts and root canals, help dentists locate hidden pain sources, and even assist in the detection of jaw tumors.

It’s also worth noting that the use of 3D technology makes for a more comfortable trip to the dentist’s office. CBCT machines are non-invasive, reducing much of the discomfort typically associated with X-rays. Capturing all required images in a single scan also reduces your overall exposure to radiation.

New Technology, Better Service

The adoption of 3D imaging technology is already making waves in the dental community, and for good reason. By streamlining service and increasing comfort while simultaneously improving a dentist’s ability to provide accurate diagnoses and effective treatments, this exciting tech is sure to make your next dental visit much more enjoyable. With the right technology, your dentist will be able to help you take full control of your dental health so you can live a healthier, happier lifestyle.