3D CT in dentistry: what it does and how?
As in other specialties related to Medicine, in Dentistry the use of new technologies contributes to considerably increase the chances of success of a treatment.
In the area that concerns us, one of the advances that has brought the greatest benefits to dental practice is that of the TAC. And this device plays a fundamental role when it comes to making an accurate diagnosis and good treatment planning.
In this way, results are achieved faster, predictable and effective than without the use of dental TAC.
What is a dental CT?
A dental CT scan -a short form of defining Computerized Axial Tomography- is a device that uses X-rays to obtain three-dimensional images of the patient's upper and lower teeth and maxillary bones.
Since some people may confuse CT with a traditional panoramic radiograph, at this point it is worth remembering that the first performs images in three dimensions, while conventional radiography does not.
What is this device for?
The 3D CT scan is used to perform a complete radiological study of the patient's mouth, since it allows to obtain images of their dental and bone structures.
In this way, it allows the dentist or maxillofacial surgeon who requests the test to carefully plan a treatment before carrying it out.
On the other hand, it is important to note that 3D CT is used in specific treatments, that is, it is not carried out in any dental procedure.
For example, its use is especially widespread in Implantology. However, it can also be used in other specialties.
When is the 3D Dental TAC performed?
As we have previously advanced, it is mainly used in Implantology, although it may have more uses:
Implant placement: It allows to study the bone structure to determine the exact position in which the implant will be placed in the bone. Likewise, it allows to see the state of the dental root.
Bone regeneration: he 3D CT also serves to check the bone dimension of the patient and determine if it has enough bone to carry out the intervention or if it is necessary to plan, in addition, some bone regeneration technique, such as maxillary sinus lift
Wisdom teeth included: The TAC serves to verify its relationship with the inferior dental nerve and calculate the best possible approach for the extraction of wisdom teeth
Canines included: In this case, the device is used when an orthodontic treatment is going to be performed, either with brackets or with the Invisalign aligners, and there is a canine included. In this way, it is planned that said tooth goes down to the correct position
Where can I do this test
Although it is true that most dental clinics do not have a CAT scan, at Just Smile Dental we do have this device.
The fact that many clinics do not have it is because the dental TAC is a very expensive technology and requires a very large investment.
Therefore, it is necessary to perform many implant surgeries to compensate for having it.
When the clinic does not have a CT scan, you must ask the patient who needs this test to have it done in another center and return several days later with the results so that they are interpreted by the professional who requested it.
This, in turn, entails some discomfort for the patient due to having to move and slows down the moment of knowing the results.
However, in our clinic, when we have an exclusive implant team that carries out numerous implant placement surgeries, we do have a CAT scan.
In summary, the fact of having an own dental TAC brings numerous advantages to the patient:
- Gets a more precise diagnosis: allows dentists to know in detail the initial state of the teeth and the maxillary bones of patients
- It provides greater comfort and prevents displacement: the test lasts only a few seconds and the patient does not have to travel to another center another day. In this way, you know the results instantly, since the dentist can interpret them in the same consultation
- Achieve more predictable results: having carried out a previous study, we know exactly what the patient's starting point is and it is easier to calculate its evolution
How is a TAC done?
In our clinic, the dental CT is performed in an X-ray room isolated from the rest of the center.
The test is carried out by qualified personnel and the procedure is very similar to that performed in panoramic radiographs.
That is, it is not necessary for the patient to follow any previous treatment or recommendations. Just follow the instructions of our staff.
Therefore, they will put a lead vest to protect you from the radiation and they will tell you the exact position in which you have to be placed so that the device takes the appropriate images from your mouth. This lasts only 20 seconds.
At this point, it is important to remember that pregnant women should not undergo this test because of the radiation involved, even if it is at a very low dose.
As you can see, the dental TAC is a very simple test that takes very little time to complete. This, unique to the great value that contributes to the treatment, makes the patients have no problem in submitting to it when we so request.