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3D Imaging Technology vs. Conventional Radiography in Endodontics

The end goal of any endodontist is to diagnose correctly and suggest the proper treatment related to infection of a tooth’s pulp and surrounding areas. The ability to take digital scans has advanced over the last several years, leading to more accurate, nearly-instant diagnosis for patients, leading to less guessing and more accurate treatment plans. Here is a comparison of 3-D radiography technology vs. conventional methods such as 2D X-rays.

3D Imaging in Endodontics

Image scanning technology has progressed from the traditional 2D X-rays to more advanced 3D imaging over the last several years. 3D Imaging, specifically cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), is the process of taking “undistorted three-dimensional information of the maxillofacial skeleton as well as three-dimensional images of the teeth and their surrounding areas,” according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

The 3-D imaging technology used at Copper Creek is state-of-the-art, is the preferred choice for non-invasive diagnosis, is used on every patient, and guarantees accurate diagnosis in order to pursue the most viable and correct treatments. Here are the benefits of CBCT Scans:

  • Exposes patients to a fraction of radiation exposure compared to X-rays
  • There’s no chemical usage
  • Imaging enhancement tools
  • Up to 30 times larger than traditional X-rays
  • Results processed immediately for simultaneous viewing by doctor and patient
  • Images can be archived
  • Can manipulate images

While some endodontists have resisted CBCT scans due to cost, radiation level, and other factors, the amount of diagnostic information a limited-field scan provides is well documented. Here are 5 case studies we published a year ago demonstrating the benefits of CBCT images.

Conventional Radiography

Conventional radiography, discovered in 1985 by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, is used around the world in medical facilities and dental offices. Commonly known as X-rays, this type of image tomography takes two-dimensional images of three-dimensional objects using electromagnetic radiation. While many endodontic practitioners have transitioned to using 3D image scanning technology, 2D X-rays are still widely used. X-rays lack many capabilities that come standard with 3D technology. Radiation levels tend to be higher using traditional, 2D imaging scanners, but also require “optimized geometric configuration of the X-ray generator, tooth, and sensor to provide an accurate projection of the tooth,” according to the National Library of Medicine. In addition, conventional radiology:

  • Is fickle, for lack of a better word. If the generator, tooth, and sensor are misaligned, the resulting image may be exposed to inaccuracies.
  • Images cannot be archived
  • Require higher radiation dosage
  • Require more time between exposure and interpretation
  • Cannot be manipulated

The benefits of using 3D image scanning technology is well documented. A better image of your tooth is created, magnified, and available to you almost instantly, leading to better diagnosis and suggested treatment. Learn more about Copper Creek’s cone beam 3D imaging technology here.

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:06 PM
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