Category Archives: digital dentistry

Cone Beam Computerized Tomography Dental Imaging

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CBCT systems used by dental professionals rotate around the patient, capturing data using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. This data is used to reconstruct a three-dimensional (3D) image of the of the patient’s head and neck. CBCT uses more radiation than regular dental teeth x-rays, but still less than 10% of the radiation used in conventional medical CT scan of the same area.

This is the Carestream 9300 Imaging machine we have at the University of Maryland Dental School. I mostly use this to plan dental implant placement.

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Dentists use Cone Beam CT imaging for the following:• 3-D observation of overall oral/facial bony characteristics, allowing easier diagnosis and placement of dental implants • Surgical guide fabrication for implant placement • 3-D observation of teeth for endodontic diagnosis and treatment • Diagnosis and treatment of tooth impactions • Identification of inferior alveolar nerve and mental foramen location • Identification of the location of the maxillary sinus • Identification of the presence of odontogenic lesions • Trauma evaluation and treatment • Analysis of temporomandibular joint characteristics leading to diagnosis and treatment • Integration with CAD/CAM devices for fabrication of prosthodontics or orthodontic appliances • Identification for referral of numerous conditions or diseases not normally within the realm of dentistry, but that can be shown on typical cone beam images.

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These last 2 pictures show how we use information obtained from the Cone Beam CT to plan placement of dental implants.

Dr. Gentry explains CAD/CAM technology and 3D printing in dentistry.

CAD/CAM is an acronym for computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing. CAD/CAM technology has been increasingly incorporated into dentistry over the past 20 years. CAD/CAM technology is used by dentists and dental laboratories to provide our patients with 3-D milled ceramic crowns and other types of restorations, and to fabricate abutments for dental implants, used to replace missing teeth. A digital impression is taken of the patient’s teeth or dental impression, and the restoration is milled from a single block of tooth colored ceramic material in a milling chamber.

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Digital design of the crown restoration.
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Sending the digital impression to the 3-D milling machine
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3-D printer fabricating the dental restoration.

The 3-D milling machine fabricating the dental restoration.