CBCT: Application in Orthodontics

A model of teeth with metal braces

CBCT: Application in Orthodontics

The role of the orthodontist is an invaluable one with a significant and far-reaching impact on society. If you are an orthodontist, you are well aware that reputations for quality work and a positive patient experience are both essential components of a successful practice. Improving this reputation will only lead to growth and continued success. Technological innovations like cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) stand to further this by supplementing your abilities and creating a more pleasant visit for patients. You have likely heard of 3D CBCT by now as it continues to cement itself as an industry standard in orthodontics. If you have yet to procure a CBCT scanner for your practice, you may be working harder than you need to while missing out on valuable revenue. The technology has many applications in orthodontics as well as benefits for practice owners in general. Its value in orthodontics was validated by a study published in the Journal of Dental Research in March of 2021.

“This study applied a novel MS-D network to segment CBCT scans into jaw, teeth, and background. Multiclass segmentation achieved comparable segmentation accuracy as binary segmentation. In addition, the MS-D network–based 3D models closely resembled the gold standard 3D models. These results demonstrate that deep learning has the potential to accurately and simultaneously segment jaw and teeth in CBCT scans. This will substantially reduce the amount of time and effort spent in clinical settings, thereby facilitating patient-specific orthodontic treatment.”

-Wang, Minnema, Batenburg | Journal of Dental Research Vol 100, Issue 9, 2021

CBCT scans create easy-to-read, three-dimensional views by taking a series of image “slices” and stacking them atop one another. This representation far surpasses the clarity of a single 2D image and allows the clinician to manipulate the rendering to see it from different angles and viewpoints. The scans take place in seconds and provide unobstructed, true-to-size images of all oral structures in the field of view. More confident diagnostics and the presentation of more data available than with a 2D scan allow for better, more efficient case planning, leading to faster and easier treatments for patients. The best CBCT scanners are also low in radiation exposure, which is often a concern among parents of young patients.

Orthodontics-specific applications are abundant, as well. CBCT imaging allows users to:

  • Make precise measurements of unerupted teeth and bony dimensions
  • Increase accurate localization of ectopic, impacted and supernumerary teeth
  • Directly measure relative positions of teeth within skeletal components
  • Objectively assess asymmetries
  • Gain three-dimensional views of airway and sinuses
  • Make confident preassessment of periodontal bone levels prior to orthodontic treatment without additional X-ray exposure
  • Mitigate incidental endodontic findings that can alter final orthodontic planning

These are just a few of the ways CBCT technology can enhance your experience as a clinician and improve the reputation of your practice. Many newer technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), also use 3D scans to better predict movement and plan the entire course of treatment for both traditional brackets and clear aligner therapy. The results of this new technology include faster and more predictable treatment outcomes. If you have more questions about how you could utilize it in your practice, call PreXion today at 855-PREXION or find a representative in your area.