3D Dental X-Rays

3D Cone Beam X-RayWe now have a piece of “Star Wars” technology at our disposal. 3D x-rays are now readily available to dentists. Called cone beam tomography, one can see jaw structures, tooth relationships and root canal anatomy. They are becoming the standard of care for implant surgery since it shows the relationship between the available bone and major structures such as nerves and sinuses. It’s indispensable for making sure that a dental implant does not impinge on the nerve that controls the lower lip. It can also help find some hidden bone around the sinuses allowing for placement without doing expensive bone grafts. In orthodontics, the relationship between the upper and lower jaw in conjunction with the rest of the skull can be determined readily with these x-rays. The3D view can aid a dentist in search for an elusive root canal or an extremely curved root.

Although the amount of radiation needed to produce these x-rays is reasonably minimal, the general feeling at this time is to not make them a routine procedure, especially in children who will probably be exposed to multiple sources of radiation throughout their lifetime.