A new technology called the Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) is increasingly becoming a potent tool for dentists to diagnose complicated oral problems.
J. Martin Palomo and Mark Hans from the department of orthodontics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and C.H. Kau and S. Richmond from the department of dental health and biological sciences at the University of Wales' College of Medicine have published an article in the current issue of the Journal of Orthodontics detailing four new CBCT systems. "The long awaited incorporation of the third dimension to our radiographic records is now a reality. There is still room for improvements; however the CBCT technology appears to be here to stay," the researchers write in the journal.
The advantages of these new systems are many, the researchers report.
* First and foremost, the radiation exposure to a patient is 20 percent of the conventional CT imaging, while producing sharp images of the head, teeth and the airways in a single minute.
* The CBCT system follows the guidelines issued by the American Dental Association and the British Orthodontic Society as far as radiation exposure norms are concerned.
* There images are three dimensional and hence help orthodontists detect even minute cysts or even teeth that are impacted deep into the bone thus helping them form a viable treatment plan.
* Because of better imaging of the airways, any relevant conditions like sleep apnea and enlarged adenoids are managed in a controlled way.
* These images also help in the management of cleft palates and lips by giving a better picture of the underlying structures.
The authors conclude by saying, "The future in orthodontic imaging seems exciting as we discover new frontiers, and as the paradigm in dentistry shifts from landmarks, lines, distances and angles to surfaces, areas and volumes. Orthodontists are beginning to appreciate the advantages that the third dimension gives to clinical diagnosis, treatment planning and patient education."
Case Western Reserve University