Dental imaging technology has come a long way from the early days of dentistry. We went from using traditional x-rays to using digital radiography with sensors and low radiation dental C-T scans, dramatically reducing x-ray exposure times.
At The Healthy Smile – Bay Village Dentist, we’re always looking to upgrade and improve our practice so that our patients can benefit from the latest advances in dental technologies.
By upgrading our dental imaging equipment and procedures, our patients can now get better results, with less discomfort or pain.
Let’s discuss how
Can’t You See That on An X-ray?
This question pops up more often than one would expect. After all, many of us had our first exposure to x-rays when we were very young. We read a very popular comic or even watched the TV show featuring the man from Krypton. We all know what type of vision Superman had. He had x-ray vision.
This special vision enabled him, along with his other superpowers to fight for truth, justice and . . . well, you all know the rest. His x-ray vision gave him a jump on the bad guys. He saw things that no one else could see.
This ability to see what is hidden is true in medicine and specifically dentistry as well. We can see through a tooth and through the bone that is holding the tooth and not find any surprises. Clear vision as afforded to me by an x-ray makes me a better practitioner for you, my patient.
The Limitations of Traditional Dental X-Rays
However, it is not quite like Clark Kent’s friend. He saw through objects and knew what is on the other side. I can see through an object but what I see is not exactly what is hidden. I see a two-dimensional picture of a three-dimensional object.
Let me repeat that because it is fundamental to our understanding. It is a 2D representation of 3D objects.
What does this mean to me? Allow me to give you an example.
If I find a large a hole or cavity on a tooth, I know whether it is on the left or right side of the tooth. What I don’t know is whether it is towards me or away from me as I look at it. In other words, is it on the cheek side of a tooth or is it on the tongue side? There is no way to determine this from an x-ray.
I need to visually examine the tooth, and see if I can get a hint as to where it is. Possibly, I could take a bunch of x-rays from a variety of angles and use some principles of geometry to come up with an answer. , Even with all of this, I get a better idea of the location of the decay, but may not know its exact location or extent of damage with just these tools. This exact situation is where experience is so valuable.
Our New 3D Dental Imaging Technology
I am happy and proud to see that I have taken my practice to the next level. I have a new piece of technology in the office called Dental Cone Beam CT that allows me to see all the dimensions of a tooth. I can see a computer reconstructed 3D view of the tooth.
There are so many areas of dentistry where this is useful.
Today I am going to focus on root canal treatment.
3D Dental Imaging Technology for Root Canals
A root canal procedure is a blind procedure. As the dentist performing the root canal, I am working in a very small dark hole that I can not see. Yes, I have magnifiers and big lights. These aids help me see better what I can see. However, it doesn’t help me see areas that are not visible.
The main thrust of root canal therapy is to heal the root buried in the gum. We do all of this by feel.
The dentist knows what anatomy should be there and where it should be located based on what is normal. However, not everyone fits the usual pattern. People and their teeth can have various deviations that make it a struggle to find things blindly.
The blind aspect of this procedure is one reason why many doctors shy away from performing it. At times, even with the best efforts, I may not be able to see something. A particular part of the canal of a tooth may be “missed.” If this happens, the patient does not get “better,” and we don’t know why.
With new imaging technology that is now part of my office, I can see how many canals a tooth has and how they travel through a tooth. Its use must be determined on a case by case basis and show a clear benefit to the patient and their oral health. However, when indicated and especially before some types of surgery, the information that it may give is invaluable.
For the Benefit of Our Patients
As you can readily see, I am very excited about my latest addition for your benefit. If you have a dental concern that you want to discuss or get a second opinion, I would love to help you. Please call me at 440.892.1810 and make an appointment for us to meet and address your concerns.
I look forward to helping you.