The Benefits of CBCT in Orthodontics

Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) has infiltrated every dental specialty over the past few years, including orthodontics. In addition to aiding in the assessment of skeletal and dental structures, localizing and evaluating impacted teeth and supernumeraries and TMJ assessment, CBCT also plays a vital role in airway analysis, the planning of temporary anchorage devices, the fabrication of custom orthodontic appliance and digital model creation and storage. Other benefits include improved diagnoses, faster examinations and enhanced patient communication and case acceptance.

Diagnosis and Treatment

TMJ Assessment—CBCT systems with multiple fields of view give doctors the flexibility to assess temporomandibular joint changes, as well as the surrounding structures. Not only are CBCT scans more accurate than 2D imaging, but one 360 degree scan can capture both the right and left TMJ, thus simplifying patient positioning.

Airway Analysis—As airway analysis becomes more widespread in orthodontics, dedicated 3D imaging software will allow doctors to visualize constrictions by segmenting the airway in a few clicks. These visually appealing 3D images can also help doctors communicate with patients.

Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)—CBCT gives doctors a highly detailed overview of bone quality and quantity, the location of the sinuses and root proximity, all vital to know before considering placing TADs. Three-dimensional imaging software can also simulate implant placement  for increased confidence and a more accurate treatment planning. Continue reading

Using CAD/CAM to Provide Excellent Customer Service

When it comes to traditional impressions, I look at it from a customer service perspective. Impressions are time-consuming, messy, uncomfortable and don’t do much for improving doctor/patient relationships. However, as an orthodontist, impressions are a necessity for almost every patient who walks through my door.

I wanted way to set my practice apart; eliminate messy alginate impressions; and cut back on wait times for receiving appliances from labs. I’ve done that by pairing an intraoral scanner with a 3D printer right in my office. I’m now able to offer my patients the kind of customer experience they’ve come to expect in this modern, digital world. Continue reading

Implementing Digital Impressions into your Orthodontic Practice

As a clinical consultant and trainer for orthodontic practices, I have seen firsthand the many benefits of switching from traditional impressions to digital. Many times, practices don’t realize how inaccurate their impressions are—until they notice that their appliances don’t fit properly when they come back from the lab. Intraoral scanners can remove the accuracy challenge from the practice, as well as improve the speed of the impression process.

If you are already considering implementing digital into your practice, the tips below may help you select the right scanner for your needs as well successfully incorporate it into your workflow. Continue reading

How Orthodontists and Patients Benefit from an Intraoral Scanner

Computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) has been utilized by general dentists for the past decade. It’s only been within the past few years that the technology that has allowed dentists to create digital impressions and mill crowns in-office has been adapted for use by orthodontists to create digital models and orthodontic appliances. Of the many tools in a CAD/CAM portfolio, perhaps the most beneficial to an orthodontist is an intraoral scanner; it benefits both patients and doctors alike:

What’s good for the orthodontist…. …Is good for the patient
High-resolution 2D and 3D images… …eliminate the need to use the alginate associated with traditional impressions.
No heaters or trolleys means… …no waiting for cumbersome trolleys to be moved from other operatories.
No need to pour molds or wait for stone models to set… …results in fewer appointments and better use of staff time.
Two interchangeable, autoclavable tips—a standard size for adults and a smaller tip for children or adults with small mouths—means…. …a more comfortable overall experience for young patients or adults with a strong gag reflex.
A unique light guidance system and high-angulation scanning capabilities aid in the capture of data during image acquisition…. …reducing the risk of remakes, meaning no “we need to you to come back in” calls to the patient.

Continue reading

A Brief History of CAD/CAM

Though computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) for dentistry has been available for the past 25-30 years, it’s only been within the past decade that the technology has moved from the lab to chairside. Much like radiovisiography technology, dental CAD/CAM technology got its start in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. However, early versions of CAD/CAM systems were so cumbersome and complicated that they were considered more of a hindrance to practice workflow than an advantage, and were mostly confined to laboratories. Fortunately, advances in the technology over the past few years have made CAD/CAM a more viable option for dentists looking to do restorations in-house. Continue reading

3D vs. 2D Imaging – Is the 2D Ceph Still Necessary? (Part 2)

By Matt Hendrickson, U.S. Orthodontic Director

Last week, we touched on the why orthodontists need a 2D cephalometric system in their office and the difference between the different units. This week, I want to discuss the tangible advantages of having a 2D cephalometric unit available in your office.

The key benefits of using true 2D cephalometric imaging, as opposed to cephalometric images reconstructed by a 3D unit include:

  • Elimination of motion artifacts through one-shot acquisition
  • Improved workflow
  • Ability to evaluate treatment response of patients who started treatment with a 2D ceph
  • Decreased legal liability

Continue reading

3D vs. 2D Imaging – Is the 2D Ceph Still Necessary? (Part 1)

By Matt Hendrickson, U.S. Orthodontic Director

3D images are an important tool in today’s orthodontic practice. However, capturing cephalometric images is critical for evaluating treatment in orthodontics. To ensure that you are getting the most reliable radiographs possible—and to streamline your practice workflow—it’s important to choose the right imaging system for your office. While there are a number of units on the market that can reconstruct a cephalometric image from a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan, these can take a toll on your workflow as well as introduce legal complications into your practice. Wise practitioners are implementing CBCT systems that give them the flexibility of both 2D and 3D imaging. Continue reading