Maryland Periodontics and Dental Implants
7902 Old Branch Ave., Suite 209
Clinton, MD 20735
(301) 856-1200


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True 3D makes implant placement safer for my patients

Dr. Reiaz Ali discusses important factors when using 3D digital technology and how surgically guided dental implants are safer and more predictable.

True 3D digital technology makes implant placement safer

What on earth?

What is Cone Beam Computed Tomography?

Maryland Periodontics and Dental Implants continues to strive for patient comfort, safety and accuracy. Cone Beam Computed Tomography is another step in this direction. Patients are excited about having a scan completed once they find out how safe implant treatment has become. 

Cone Beam Computed Tomography is a big name for an essential machine that helps us capture an image of your jaw. The images captured are then processed by computer software to allow us to see the jaw on a computer in all different angles. We can then design your implant case on the computer. This machine can also be used for other things but it is generally used for implant treatment. To simplify the name we use the acronym CBCT or routinely say a 3D scan. This machine is the new key to modern Implant Dentistry. 

The CBCT was designed to take a 3D image of the head and neck region while limiting the radiation exposure in the process. This simple Xray takes less than a minute and produces an image that can be seen on the computer in True 3D. The software then allows us to see all parts of your jaw without you even having to be there. 

Why 3D?

Implants are placed in the bone in the jaws. When we look into the mouth, we cant see the bone as it is under the gums. So all we see are gums. Simple X-rays allow us to see the bone underneath the gums and were the norm. To explain this better here is an off topic example; let’s say we needed to replace the refrigerator in the kitchen. We will have to measure 3 dimensions – height, width and depth. We may get stuck if we have only 2 dimensions. With only 2 dimensions, the refrigerator may not fit in the space or may not even fit through the front door. Normal X-rays in 2 dimensions were very useful for their time but we now have the technology to make implant procedures even more simple, accurate and safe with 3D technology, knowing all 3 dimensions!

Don’t all dental offices have one of these machines?

It is estimated that less than 10% of the dental practices in the US have a 3D machine in the office. This is relatively new and developing technology. Most offices have a Panorex machine that looks very similar on the outside to a 3D dental scanner. A Panorex machine takes a 2 dimensional image of your jaw. This 2 dimensional image can be copied unto a piece of paper. A true 3D image can only be used on a computer to be of any true value. Many patients coming to our office will say that they have had a 3D scan taken before, but upon checking, it was really a Panorex. 

Now it is time to compare apples to apples. A 3D scan is great for looking at the jaw on the computer. The images are evaluated in all different angles and your implant size and position planned. The next important step here is to replicate the 3D planned position of the implant in the mouth. For true replication, the implant guide will be designed directly from the 3D scan. This guide can be placed in the mouth to replicate the 3D designed implant position in the mouth. Implant guides have been in use for a long time, but they were never as accurate as they were not designed using the 3D scan can directly.

Implant dentistry has come a long way. Implants are possibly the closest replacement option to natural teeth. With 3D technology, implant dentistry just got even better, more accurate, safer and simpler.

True 3D digital technology

The many benefits of dental implants. For more information click here:



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