Cone Beam CT Computed Tomography

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Cone Beam CT Computed Tomography Scans

It’s much easier and faster to get to Point B if you have a better understanding of Point A. Identifying that starting point in regard to Orthodontic treatment has become much better with the introduction of Cone Beam CT, or computed tomography. Information in any industry is a differentiator. Digital technology like cone beam imaging is transforming the way the dental industry is gathering that information. More information, better decisions leading to better treatment and better results. Let’s look at the technology behind the device, the impact it has on different orthodontic procedures and the benefits to you as the patient.

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The History of Cone Beam CT

The initial CAT scan was developed in the 1970s. The cone beam tomography evolved from this technology. Rather than a fan-shaped beam of radiation that rotates around the patient the cone beam uses a cone-shaped beam directed at a detector that rotates around the patient. This allows for the successful application in the dental industry.

The European market was the first to experience the benefits of cone beam technology in 1996. It made its way into the United States market in 2001. The original members of the research group that discovered the technology received an award in 2013 for the invention. As it grows in popularity it also grows in practicality. The technology is showing advantages in the areas of Implantology, Orthodontics, Orthopedics, Interventional Radiology and numerous clinical applications. The cone beam technology offers very useful information in the assessment and planning of implants and undistorted view of your extremities when it comes to weight bearing images in feet and ankle diagnosis and planning. It reduces potential radiation exposure when you are doing complex procedures that require intervention radiology.

How the Cone Beam CT actually works

During dental or orthodontic imaging the cone beam scanner rotates around your head gathering around 600 distinct images. The scanning software takes over collecting that data and reconstructs it producing what the industry calls a digital volume composed of three dimensional values that represent volume. You may be familiar with pixels and a bitmap based on coordinates. The difference with this technology is the measuring value, called a voxel, is based on its position relative to other voxels in a three-dimensional space. In fact, the word voxel originated with the word pixel, with the vo representing volume.

In as little as 20 seconds a full scan can give Dr. Pan enough data for her complete diagnosis to develop your plan together. This avenue is much safer than a traditional CT scanner by subjecting you to less radiation. You also get to sit in an open environment versus being subjected to the confinements of the CT scanner tube.

The Orthodontic Procedures improved with Cone Beam CT

The Cone Beam CT can give Dr. Pan invaluable information initially on any type of orthodontic evaluation and treatment planning. It can make a big difference if there is TMJ treatment involved, or the assessment of your airway when it comes to potential sleep apnea issues. The technology provides full 3D images of the face and the jaws. A 3D rendition can give Dr. Pan an undistorted view of the dentition involved, the soft tissue, and the erupted and non-erupted teeth. It can provide tooth root orientation and all anomalous structures that conventional x-rays cannot. The data is collected immediately, the rendition is done immediately, and the data to discuss is available for a prompt discussion on the correct plan of action. You and Dr. Pan are both informed and can make educated decisions together on your course of treatment.

TMJ is pain and discomfort related to the TMJ joint. This unique joint is located at the base of your skull in front of your ear and this joint connects your lower jaw. There is an unusual disc like structure that is found between the two bones. This joint can become fractured or swollen limiting movement of the lower jaw and creating pain that can radiate to the head and neck. The cone beam CT with its 3D scan can identify this problem and can set the proper treatment into motion. A huge improvement over the previous options.

The 3D scan and image will help Dr. Pan get to the root of the problem if you are suffering from sleep apnea issues. The scan will show if your airway is obstructed, or if your airway is too small or if you have enlarged tonsils. All contributing factors to this disorder that can now be immediately identified with cone beam technology. It will help Dr. Pan and yourself get to a solution quicker. Identifying a nasal passage blockage with potential surgery or a CPAP machine or a simple dental appliance. The cone beam will dramatically help identify and label symptoms to identify methods to get quicker and safer results.

The Benefits to You

We’ve mentioned earlier a couple of the benefits. First and foremost, you subject yourself to less radiation when pursuing this technological scanning. The second benefit is the 3D scan and the guess work it takes out many orthodontic procedural treatment plans. The cone beam can easily identify an abscess on the root of an aching tooth. It is also a powerful dental implant planner for your orthodontics before implant process. Even more impressive, cone beam helps diagnosis of airway issues by giving doctors different views of upper airway. An immediate problem identified and an immediate solution.

As the cone beam technology is introduced and involved in more and more decisions it’s hard to imagine providing good dental and orthodontic care without it. The technology, between the scanner and the software, simply deliver far better information for the tending orthodontic dentist, a better treatment plan is devised, and you end up with a better and quicker solution. The perfect example of a win-win scenario.

Since nothing can hide from the 3D scanning and imaging you may discover something else that you and Dr. Pan did not know existed. In this regard, you both are able to practice preventive dentistry and address an issue before it becomes a problem that you are then reacting too.

Cone Beam CT has been a great addition to the dental industry and continues to improve dental practices.

Meet Dr. Pan

Pan Orthodontics Philosophy

To treat our patients as our families and to treat others as how we want to be treated. From your first phone call to the moment your new smile is born, everything in our office is set up to ensure an excellent experience with us. We will always listen to you and improve with your suggestions.

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Our Commitment to You

We will continue to keep up with the ever growing digital technologies to improve your orthodontic experience. We also commit to always help you find the most convenient time for your visit with us.