Advanced digital technology has become essential in successful orthodontic diagnosis, evaluation and treatment plans to help orthodontic professionals to discover what cannot be detected in a clinical exam. Three of the newest technologies include the Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), and the iTero and 3Shape TRIOS® intraoral digital imaging scanners.
Cone Beam Computed Tomography in Orthodontic Diagnosis
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Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is an important tool for orthodontic diagnosis. It provides medical professionals a three-dimensional, volumetric view of the craniofacial complex with much more reliable information than conventional two-dimensional radiology or X-rays.
CBCT is used to help diagnose patients with anomalies like cleft palates, abnormalities of the temporomandibular joint, or airway evaluation in obstructive sleep apnea cases, among others. Most often, CBCT is used to identify and localize transposed or impacted teeth. Using the data, orthodontists can also assess the best location for a temporary skeletal anchorage device.
Some of the other benefits of CBCT:
- Images accessed from three planes and reoriented
- Highly-localized images
- Elimination of distortion and overlapping
- Single-scan study casts construction enabled
- Detection of root absorption
Intraoral Digital Imaging via iTero
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The iTero 5D intraoral digital imaging system is the first hybrid dental imaging system that simultaneously records three-dimensional, intraoral color and near-infrared imaging technology (NIRI) images of both the enamel and dentin of teeth. As it offers a comprehensive view of the oral anatomy, it is useful in a patient’s comprehensive preventive and restorative oral care. In addition, using the iTero TimeLapse technology, orthodontists can show comparisons over time, such as the simulated outcomes of Invisalign® treatments.
Other benefits of the iTero imaging system:
- 3D digital impressions
- Aids in locating and monitoring interproximal cavities/caries
- Built-in intraoral camera
- Simulation capability
- Real-time time lapse
- Chairside scan evaluation
- No harmful radiation
Intraoral Digital Imaging via 3Shape TRIOS
The TRIOS 3Shape intraoral scanner is third way orthodontists can use digital technology to provide treatment by scanning teeth and sending the digital impression to the lab for fabrication of crowns, clear aligners like Invisalign, and oral appliances. The scanner can measure tooth shapes with digital precision, and provide 3D images with high definition to give orthodontists the tools for creating digital study models from the impression and advanced technology for accurate treatment planning and analysis on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the TRIOS scanner uses a RealColor feature that replicates the natural colors and shades in the mouth, making evaluation easier.
Other benefits of the TRIOS imaging system:
- Quicker turnaround on fabrication
- Fewer appointments
- Accuracy, meaning fewer remakes or adjustments
- Patient comfort
- Less intimidating for children
Orthodontist Liliana Calkins
Orthodontist Liliana Calkins DDS of Airway and Sleep Group uses these advanced digital technology aids for craniofacial-respiratory evaluation. This enables her to use the technology in an orthodontic or orthodontic/surgery combination to treat growth and development issues with expansion of the airway.
“My focus is to understand and treat the causes and pathology of prevalent malocclusions,” Dr. Calkins said. “We evaluate our patients to discern the underlying causes and treat them using an integral health approach to create a beautiful, natural, healthy face, functional occlusion and viable airway.”
As digital technology advances, so do our treatment options, leading to better diagnosis, treatment plans and outcomes.