Technology has helped us advance in so many ways, particularly in medical and dental practices. One method that is changing how orthodontists approach treatment is 3D imaging. 3D imaging is a non-invasive technique which allows a greater view of dental anatomy, revolutionizing patient comfort, orthodontic procedure, and treatment planning.
How 3D Imaging Works
Three-dimensional images are created by combining several different technologies to formulate a comprehensive picture of teeth, soft tissue and root structures. Dr. Eraso uses radiography, intraoral scanning and photography to create 3D images of teeth and the underlying anatomy.
The diagnostic process involves CBCT scanners, which rotate around a patient’s head. A cone-shaped source of radiation is directed toward the area of interest, lending to the name cone beam computed tomography. CBCT scanning produces high-quality images of maxillofacial anatomy.
In addition to CBCT, intraoral scanners provide images of the inside of the mouth without invasive molding. Finally, photographs are taken and added to the other collected images. Together, these pieces form a 3D image which is used to create anatomodels.
3D Imaging in Orthodontics: The Benefits
Three-dimensional imaging is vastly improving patient well-being and provides a wealth of knowledge for orthodontists beyond what was previously possible. Using 3D imaging technology, we are now able to develop patient care plans more quickly and with a greater level of success. Three-dimensional imaging also provides the following benefits:
- Detailed information about a patient’s anatomy: In the past, traditional imaging techniques such as x-ray provided a limited view of a patient’s teeth. Without supporting details, orthodontics would make assumptions about the underlying tissues and root structures and develop a plan of treatment without fully understanding all contributing factors. With 3D imaging, we can see the anatomy that lies beneath the surface and gain a greater understanding of how roots and bones structures impact development. Orthodontics are now able to create an interactive plan of treatment with greater accuracy.
- Growth and development over time: Adults of today often tell stories about wearing braces for several years as a child or young adult, only to be displeased with the end result. The limitation of 2D imaging forced orthodontists to make assumptions about the underlying causes of dental problems. With 3D imaging, orthodontists can make more accurate predictions because they are able to view a patient’s anatomy and understand how it impacts overall growth and development.
- Cleaner: Similar stories are told about older molding techniques. In the past, a clay-like substance would be positioned on teeth and left to set for several minutes in order to extract an impression, which would then be made into a mold by third-party labs. The molds would often take weeks or even months to create, which would then arrive back at the office, hopefully intact. When broken, patients would make a repeat visit and the process would begin again. The entire procedure was extremely time consuming and uncomfortable for patients. With 3D imaging, a detailed picture can be sent in a matter of seconds. With the addition of 3D printing, mold creation is even available in Dr. Eraso’s office.
- Improved patient comfort and well-being: Ultimately, innovations in technology are focused on improving the patient experience. Three-dimensional imaging allows orthodontists to see much more without asking patients to endure uncomfortable diagnostic methods.
Dr. Eraso utilizes cutting-edge technology to improve the patient experience. We are dedicated to providing the absolute best in orthodontic care. You will remain informed every step of the way and we will work diligently to develop the best interactive treatment plan, using this process:
- New patient exam.
- Dr. Eraso consults with patient and performs a clinical exam.
- Knowledgeable staff collects records using the latest in technology.
- Dr. Eraso evaluates records using anatomodels and conferences with patients to determine treatment.
- Comprehensive orthodontic treatment begins.