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Current Trends in Periodontal Diagnosis Using Imaging Technologies

Posted on 5/15/2024 by Todd Jorgenson
a close up of healthy gums and pearly teethGetting an accurate periodontal diagnosis is key to creating an effective treatment plan. While a dental exam reveals some information, advanced imaging allows periodontists to see below the gums for a clearer picture. As technology progresses, new techniques provide more detailed images to detect issues early.

Digital X-Rays Show Bone Loss Detail


Traditional X-rays use film to capture images, but digital radiography offers many benefits. It exposes patients to less radiation while producing instant, high-quality images on a computer. Zoom and filter functions also enhance the visibility of structures. This lets periodontists closely evaluate bone levels near teeth to measure bone loss severity from gum disease or other causes.

3D CBCT Scans for Comprehensive Views


Standard X-rays only provide a flat, 2-dimensional perspective. Cone beam CT is an advanced 3D imaging technique using a scanner that rotates around the head. It compiles multiple images reconstructed by a computer into a detailed 3D model. From this, the periodontist can rotate structures to visualize them from all angles, pinpoint bone defects, and guide implants or surgery planning.

Micro CT Shows Minute Structural Detail


An emerging technology called micro CT captures images at much higher resolutions than regular CT scans. It provides intricate depictions of tooth roots and bones down to sizes of a few microns. Specialists use this ultra-detail mostly for research purposes currently. However, it could have clinical applications in the future for evaluating tiny structural changes over time.

Real-Time Imaging During Procedures


Technologies like ultrasonography let specialists view structures in motion. This kind of live imaging proves useful during dental procedures to show obscured areas in real time. Guided surgery applications help navigate implants or tools through complex anatomy, avoiding vital structures. These advances make minimally invasive approaches safer for patients.

As imaging devices shrink in size while producing better images, they open new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment planning. Periodontists rely on technology to uncover problems not visible during an exam that impact choices for optimal patient care. Discuss options with your periodontal specialist to determine which solutions suit your needs.



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