Monday, October 31, 2016

3D Cone Beam X-Rays

The advancement in dental technology never ceases to amaze me. I recently visited a dental center and took a tour of their office. They were equipped with the 3D Cone Beam digital X-ray machine. Being one of rare occasions that my tour of center was given by the dentist, I took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions as to how it worked. He was kind of enough to take the time to do a quick case study with me and what I saw was pretty amazing.

The study was of a patient who had a root canal but was still experiencing pain in the area of the tooth. Looking at the normal bite wing x-ray and comparing it to a panoramic x-ray, a problem was not identifiable as to what would case the pain. Everything looked good with the root canal and nothing appeared to wrong. Then he pulled up the 3D Cone Beam X-ray of the case study patient. There, he was able to zoom in and examine all sides of the tooth and get an excellent digital view of the area. After carefully studying it, he was able to determine that pain was not due to anything dental related, rather it pulmonary related. The case study patient would then referred to a pulmonologist for further evaluation.

This was amazing! The technology that allowed him with just a click of a button to view the tooth from all angles and move the image around as needed was a key part in his diagnosis. Before, to do something like that he would have had to have taken multiple bite wing X-rays from a different angles and compare them to one another closely to find the problem. By using the 3D Cone Beam, the case study patient was only subject to 1 x-ray and the dentist was able to get everything he needed to correctly identify the problem.

3D Cone Beam X-rays are not necessary in every dental procedure and most of the time the patient will be in a situation where simple bite wing X-rays or panoramic X-rays (full mouth) will be sufficient. However, in a case where one is necessary or useful, it is a powerful diagnostic tool for a dentist to identify a particular problem that might have been harder to identify in the past.

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