Radiographs (x-ray pictures) have been a very powerful diagnostic tool in medicine and dentistry for many decades. X-ray pictures show the clinician what cannot be seen during a physical examination. For example, broken bones can be seen on radiographs. However, conventional x-ray pictures are a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional object (i.e. jaw bone or a tooth). Furthermore, much like a photograph, x-ray pictures have size distortion. For example, if the length of an object is one inch in real time, when measured on the radiograph, it may show to be longer or shorter than one inch. This distortion may be a significant issue when planning precise surgical procedures where the smallest difference can mean the success or failure of the treatment.
In the early 1970’s, Computed Axial Tomography (CAT-Scan or CT-Scan) was invented by Godfrey Hounsfield, an electrical engineer at the EMI Laboratories in England.
This started a new age in the ability of clinicians to pinpoint problems within the body of a patient. A CT-Scan examination is a series of cross-sectional x-ray pictures that are put together and reformatted by the use of computers. The results allow clinicians to look at the body in “slices”. This enables one to see the intricate details of any area of the body. Furthermore, there is very little, if any distortion of the images. This allows precise measurements, for instance, of the thickness of the jaw bone.
Our office is equipped with one of the most sophisticated CT-Scanners (Also called Cone Beam CT-Scan or CBCT) from Sirona, a dental equipment manufacturer. Galileos Comfort is equipped with a wide field of view, which allows the clinician to see more than the upper and lower jaws. The scan examination takes less than 15 seconds.
The patient stands or sits in the correct position and the machine rotates once around the head and neck area. As an added benefit to our patients, all scans taken are reviwed by a dental radiologist for any possible non-dental abnormalities. The use of CBCT has made the treatment outcome of tooth extractions and dental implant placement much more successful.