Without specialized equipment, a dentist can find it difficult to diagnose conditions and perform certain procedures. An accurate diagnosis is imperative in order to provide the correct treatment.
This is the main reason why dentists rely so heavily on regular dental x-rays in order to correctly diagnose a wide range of oral health conditions.
However, even x-rays have some downfalls and may be inadequate to provide sufficient detail of all areas of the mouth. This can be risky as infection or other problems may exist that cannot be detected using the visual aid of an x-ray.
This is where CT (Computed Tomography) or CAT scans come into play. Unlike an x-ray, these scans provide a detailed 3D image of the entire mouth. This makes it a much more effective tool in diagnosing conditions that are more complicated or difficult to detect. CT scans do not require any special preparation by the patient although it is generally recommended to wear loose clothing during the examination. It is also necessary to remove jewelry, hearing aids, glasses or items that may interfere with producing a clear image.
Some of the greatest benefits of using CT scan in dentistry instead of regular x-rays include:
Provides A Detailed Image Of Entire Mouth
Nothing is hidden from a CT scan and every angle is covered in providing the 3D image. This provides a dentist with a view that they may not have while physically examining the mouth or from an x-ray. Most dentists prefer to have a CT scan performed on their patients in order to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the mouth.
Bone and Soft Tissue Imaging
While x-rays have long been used to capture images of both the teeth and the jawbone, the detail is often inadequate and soft tissue is often excluded from the image altogether. CT scans on the other hand provide details of the bones, teeth as well as soft tissue that an x-ray simply cannot match.
Efficient and Convenient
The imaging process for a CT scan is incredibly fast. A full scan of the entire mouth generally only takes between 20 and 40 seconds. Scans targeting specific areas of the mouth are even faster and can take as little as 10 seconds. This provides patients with the benefit of shorter exposure to radiation than they would experience with an x-ray. Prolonged exposure to radiation can be dangerous.
CT scans use radiation to create images. Exposure to radiation is risky and can result in illnesses and diseases such as cancer. However, small amounts of radiation are considered to carry less risk. A CT scan has the ability to target minuscule amounts of radiation to provide a detailed image thereby reducing the risks associated with radiation exposure. Ct scans are therefore a far safer option as a diagnostic tool for patients and dentists.
At Island Dental Associates, we offer free 3D CT scans when patients come in for a free consultation for dental implants, or some other cosmetic dental procedure. Call us today to schedule an appointment!