05 Sep CBCT in Action: Real-World Applications
In the age of the digitized workflow, clinicians are more empowered by technology than ever before, and new innovations are improving patient and doctor experience exponentially. There has been much discussion of the shift towards technologies like 3D CBCT and its advantages over more traditional methods. Not discussed nearly enough, however, are the real-life stories of how CBCT is changing the dental industry.
For instance, a Texas-based dentist had a patient complaining of ill-fitting dentures and wished to explore the possibility of implants. A CBCT scan revealed that the maxilla was completely pneumatized with a deficient amount of bone to consider placing implants without significant introduction of bone graft material. As for the mandible, there was sufficient bone between the bilateral mental foramen openings, however, the upper ridge was too thin in buccal lingual diameter. Therefore, the level of the ridge was reduced to where the thicker diameter bone between the cortical plates would properly support the 3 implants that were placed. With a simple scan, the clinician quickly identified both the problem and the solution, bolstering his productivity and providing a quick and efficient visit for his patient.
Elsewhere in Texas, a patient visited a dentist for an endodontic evaluation of her tooth #28. She reported feeling mild sensitivity to bite and touch in the lower right quadrant. The cone beam CT was a valuable tool in treatment planning. In this particular case, the images of the CT scan helped the dentist avoid treating the tooth blindly. Due to the apical invasion of the resorption, the tooth was considered to have a poor prognosis and was recommended for extraction. CBCT imaging gave the clinician significant insight into the depth and circumferential extension of the resorption lesion, something he would have been unable to assess using two-dimensional radiography.
In another case, a South Carolina dentist’s use of the technology transcended its powerful functional capabilities by allowing him to bridge a communication gap with a patient and providing them an elevated level of understanding that would have been difficult to express otherwise. This patient came to the office with upper-left sore tooth pain. To help explain, the dentist showed him a 9mm pocket on the lingual premolar and a 5-6mm pocket on an upper premolar. The dentist was able to visually engage him in his own co-diagnosis while educating him about the nature of the periodontal and pathological processes in his own mouth. The patient agreed to all periodontal therapy and treatments beyond just the routine hygiene cleanings. The dentist believed that he would have never been able to explain his situation properly without the visual cone beam images to demonstrate the full scope of the patient’s situation, even though his only pain was present in the upper-left tooth.
All over the world, new technologies like CBCT are reshaping the way dental professionals provide treatment by giving them the insight and clarity they need to apply the full scope of their skill and expertise to each and every case.