Dental Tribune Middle East

Has 3D imaging finally come of age?

By Dentsply Sirona
October 10, 2019

As 3D dental imaging technology continues to improve, making it possible to get accurate diagnosis-improving images at ever lower doses, Adam Cartwright, Digital Imaging Specialist at Dentsply Sirona, believes it’s now a technology no practice can afford to do without.

The benefits that accurate and detailed X-rays bring to areas of dentistry, such as implantology, are well-known; the ability to see the position of nerves and tooth roots and the location and density of bone is essential for the effective planning of implant placement and any bone augmentation. More recently, the benefits of 3D X-rays are being recognised in other areas, such as endodontics and orthodontics.

In essence, a detailed 3D Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) scan removes the element of surprise by showing a detailed 360-degree view of the oral cavity. Many orthodontists are now becoming aware of the added benefits of using 3D X-rays as opposed to the traditional 2D X-ray for diagnosing and planning teeth movement. The clearer, more accurate 360-degree view makes correctly understanding the oral situation and identifying possible complications easier.

Balancing the benefits and risks
Radiation regulations mean practitioners must expose the patient only to a radiation dose “as low as reasonably achievable” - the ALARA principle. Helpfully, recent hybrid 2D/3D imaging systems offer high dose and low dose options which give the dental practitioner the choice and flexibility required. The imaging power of the latest machines has increased dramatically, and they are capable of extremely precise, high definition images delivering unprecedented detail, which is increasingly good even at their lowest dose settings.

What can today’s dental X-ray technology offer?
The latest CBCT units, such as the Orthophos® SL and the Orthophos® S, offer the following features which are designed to make 3D X-rays as safe, clear and easy to capture as possible.

A clearly stated, independently verified low dose setting
The only way for dental practitioners to adhere to the ALARA principle is to make sure the X-ray unit they choose has clearly stated radiation dosage levels for each setting. It’s also important that the dosage data is supported by independent references and can therefore be verified.

The latest image-capturing technology
When exposure to the lowest dose is the determining factor, it is essential to be able to rely on the equipment to capture the requisite detail every time. The technology behind dental X-ray equipment continues to advance, enabling sharper images to be captured at lower doses.

Easy to use
Some manufacturers have invested time in developing in-built aids to help the operator. These functions make it easier to capture the sharpest image possible, reduce the risk of retakes and optimise the chances of adhering to the ALARA principle.

Supported by a long warranty and training
As with all products, the longer the warranty, the more confidence a manufacturer has in the quality and longevity of their equipment. And to make sure customers are sufficiently trained to use them safely, purchasers of the Orthophos range of 3D imaging units are required by Dentsply Sirona to attend complimentary training to ensure they can confidently interpret and report on their 3D X-rays.

The Orthophos S and Orthophos SL are hybrid 2D and 3D X-ray units which offer the perfect stepping stone from 2D to 3D. With no further need to send your patients elsewhere for their 3D X-rays, and set up and training all part of the package, there really is no reason not to invest in one and thus open the doors to a world of 3D-enabled opportunity!

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