CT Surgery

Computer-guided surgery has revolutionized dental implant treatment to replace missing teeth. With computerized tomography (CT) scanning and 3D imaging, the entire implant process takes hours rather than months, and this state-of-the-art technology has been making its way into dental offices across the U.S.

Oral Surgeons PC in Des Moines has always kept up to speed with advances in dental technology. That’s why we were quick to embrace the use of cone-beam CT (CBCT) scanners that have numerous benefits for dental implant patients. If you’ve lost one or more teeth and want to restore your smile and your oral health fast, you can find out here what you need to know about CT-guided dental implant surgery in Des Moines.

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan is a medical imaging technique that produces three-dimensional visualizations of various parts of the body. Multiple X-rays create cross-sectional internal images of soft tissues, bones, and blood vessels from different angles. Providing more detail than regular X-rays, CT scans have many applications, including diagnosis of disease and injury, and planning medical, surgical or radiation treatment.

A computerized tomography scan can help to:

  • Diagnose bone fractures and tumors.
  • Determine location of infection or a blood clot.
  • Detect internal bleeding.
  • Diagnose medical conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Monitor effectiveness of treatments in cases such as cancer.
  • Guide procedures such as surgery, biopsy, and radiation therapy.

CT scans can visualize almost all parts of the body and are used by leading oral surgeons and dentists to plan dental implant surgery.

CT Scans for Dental Implants

Computerized tomography for dental implant surgery produces a series of 3D X-ray images of the jaw. The CT scan – also known as a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan – combines these images to provide a cross-sectional visualization of jawbone, soft tissue, and nerves. With the help of specialized software, implants are incorporated into the 3D images and a surgical template created. This computerized model is used to transfer the implant procedure from the virtual world into reality.

The CT-Guided Dental Implant Process

Many oral surgeons and dentists now prefer to use cone-beam computerized tomography when planning a dental implant procedure or other types of oral surgeries. The virtual system of CT-guided dental implants improves reliability and precision of the implant procedure by enabling treatment based on 3D jaw modeling. Cone-bean scanners to guide dental implant surgery use the same technology as CBCT machines that help surgeons replace joints. CT scans are painless and only take a few minutes. The wall-mounted cone-beam scanner has an arm that rotates around your head while you place your chin on a platform. You may be asked to bite down on a small tab to ensure correct alignment.

The CT-guided dental implant process entails:

  • A CT scan to produce a detailed 3D image of jawbone quantity and quality.
  • Use of interactive software that records this information and simulates optimal implant positioning.
  • Creation of a computer-generated surgical guide according to your specific treatment plan.

Benefits of CT-Guided Dental Implant Surgery

CT-guided surgery in implant dentistry enables your Des Moines oral surgeon and your dentist to visualize placement of dental implants in three dimensions. This facilitates a more accurate implant procedure that precisely pinpoints which areas of the jaw are best for implants. The result is minimally invasive surgery with greater predictability.

The smaller incisions needed in CT-guided implant surgery mean minimal bleeding and less discomfort. Sometimes implants can be placed without incisions in the gum. If you need a bone graft ahead of implant placement, this will also be easier. The cone-beam scanner used in computerized tomography allows a permanent dental restoration to be completed ahead of surgery. So your artificial teeth can be attached to the implants the same day as surgery.

CT-guided surgery also enhances the aesthetic outcome of the implant procedure. Cone-beam scans allow your dentist to place implants that match the natural alignment of your jaw, while avoiding damage to sinuses, nerves, and blood vessels. This results in fewer complications, less time in the dental chair, and a natural, healthy smile. Treatment costs are also more predictable.

CT Scans Vs X-Rays

Conventional X-rays use radiation to produce a two-dimensional image. A CT scan also uses ionizing radiation but produces a series of X-rays to create a 360-degree image that provides more detailed information. Cone-beam computerized tomography is more powerful and sophisticated than X-rays. It’s also more comfortable. With a dental X-ray, you have to bite down on intraoral sensors, which can feel awkward and uncomfortable in the mouth. A CT scan avoids this problem.

CT scans typically entail greater exposure to radiation than standard X-rays. This is because they create more images. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a CT scan slightly increases the risk of potential short-term and long-term health effects. (Ionizing radiation removes electrons from atoms and molecules). However, the CDC points to the advantages of CT scans in providing images in more detail, including parts of the body that may not be seen in traditional X-ray images. This is why more than 80 million CT scans are performed in the U.S. every year.

Want to Know More About CT-Guided Dental Implant Surgery?

Medical imaging technology progressed significantly with the introduction of cone-beam computerized tomography. CT-guided surgery is one of the most advanced techniques in oral surgery today and has simplified and streamlined the dental implant process dramatically. The technological advances of cone-beam scanning enable better communication and collaboration between your Des Moines oral surgeon and your restorative dentist. This allows individualized placement of implants precisely tailored to your specific needs.

With a traditional dental implant procedure, the healing process takes several months before you can get your replacement teeth. With computer-guided implant surgery, many patients get their artificial teeth the same-day as the implants, in just one appointment. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of CT-guided surgery for dental implants, get in touch with Oral Surgeons PC at one of our four locations.