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3D Dentistry – CBCT

Medical technology has been improving at an incredible rate for the past several decades, leading to leaps and bounds in the quality of care for people around the United States. This is especially true for the dental industry.

One of the most important and exciting developments in dental diagnostic technology in the past decade has been the advent of 3D dental imaging. However, most people likely aren’t even aware of what 3D dental technology is — that’s how new it is!

3D dentistry, at its most basic, involves developing a digital, 3D image of the mouth and skull. Traditional X-rays only develop a 2D picture of your mouth, while other methods took longer bouts of radiation to create a detailed picture, and were more unpleasant and intrusive to the patient.


3D dental images are most often used for diagnosis and treatment planning. Being able to see the mouth in three dimensions allows the dentist to better and more effectively formulate an approach to treat dental conditions.

What Are the Advantages of 3D Dentistry?

The unique way 3D dentistry works means it offers numerous features found nowhere else in dental technology. This technology has a huge number of advantages over technologies like traditional X-ray and medical CT scans. The following are some of the benefits of 3D dentistry from a diagnostic standpoint:

Beam Limitation
The size of the primary X-ray beam in 3D CBCT scanners limits the radiation to only the area of interest, reducing the patient’s exposure to radiation as much as possible.
Short Scan Time
Because the CBCT scans involved in 3D dentistry can acquire all scan images in a single rotation, scan time isn’t much different from a normal scan. This reduces the chance of image defects due to the natural movement of the patient. It also minimizes time spent on the scan.
Image Accuracy
3D CBCT imaging has an incredible resolution, allowing for highly accurate imaging and measuring. This means these images can be used to pinpoint the exact location for a dental procedure.
Image Detail

With a single scan of a CBCT machine, dentists can see much more than a regular X-ray. They can see pathology, infections, nerves, musculature and so much more. This helps dentists see and properly treat dental-caused sinus issues and plan for root canals, implants and extractions. The possibilities are endless with 3D CBCT scans.

Bone Quality Assessment
3D CBCT scans can also be used to assess bone quality, which is an important part of evaluating the presence of sufficient bone for implant placement. It is also helpful in determining the size and location of lesions and breaks.
User Friendly
3D dental equipment is very easy to learn, and it’s designed for a trained dentist or dental technician to learn and work with easily.
Interactive Display
The most important benefit for dental practitioners is the unique ability to demonstrate features in 3D that traditional imaging cannot. The practitioner can reorganize data and magnify and annotate the image.

CBCT gives Dr. Kim an amazing advantage in planning and executing the placement of Dental Implants.  Before we would rely on a 2D X-ray to place a 3D object.  You can see how this would have many pitfalls even in the best clinicians hands.  Now we can take a quick scan of a patient, and precisely plan how much area we have to place the implant.  With this information we can now place the proper sized implant every time missing critical structures such as the maxillary sinus, or inferior alveolar nerve.  If minimal bone is available we can now use our 3D intra-oral scanner, and merge that with the CBCT to fabricate a surgical guide.  This guide allows us to place the implant in the exact spot we chose on the treatment plan.  This again allows for optimal outcomes placing implants in areas patients were previously told “would not be possible”.

Another advantage of CBCT technology is for complex root canal treatment planning.  Again, a quick scan allows Dr. Kim to see the number of roots, where canals are located, precisely measure the length of each root, and if the tooth already has a hairline crack in the root.  You’ll see much more success with the diagnosis of root canals using this technology, and avoidance of unnecessary root canals that would have previously been unsuccessfully treated.


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