Mar 25

Why do I need a CAT Scan for my dental implants?

I hear this question with about almost every other patient I ask to get this valuable diagnostic x-ray.

Routinely when placing dental implants in the lower arch I will request having this x-ray taken. CAT scan is an acronym for Computer Assisted Tomography scan. This x-ray is taken in 2 mm slices which are “sagittal” or from the front of the patient to the back going left to right.

Dr. Dibling’s Simplant software allows him to see each patient’s jaw in a 3D model.

Patients will very often state that they have a panoramic x-ray from another office. This x-ray is only a 2 dimensional view. This is good but can be significantly distorts especially to judge size and distance of objects seen. Distortion on Cone Beam CAT scans is significantly less and therefore more accurate.

In the lower jaw placing a dental implant the most important concern Dr. Dibling has is location of the nerve which gives sensory feeling to your lip.

Secondly there is a slope or curve on the tongue side of your lower jaw. This is a big S curve which is called the mylohyoid ridge. The eave or slope of this ridge needs to be determined in order to assure the dental implant is confined in the body of the jaw.

The third concern is proximity to adjacent natural teeth. With Dr. Dibling’s Simplant software, dental implants can be virtually placed and seen in a 3D virtual map of the patients jaw. If required, 3D printing software can be used to fabricate a guide or template which will allow precise placement into these predetermined exact locations. Dr. Dibling very often states if a carpenter has a paper template to drill a door knob hole don’t you want your surgeon to have a template for his surgical instrument?

One concern patients have with this x-ray is the radiation. Depending on the Cone Beam CAT scan machine most exposure is between 6 through 8 of total body radiation from ambience environmental sources. So to put this in perspective, about a weeks vacation at Hilton Head island is the same.

Now I have never ever heard a golfer say that I can’t play golf this weekend because I have already played for 6 days and that’s way too much radiation. And no, sunscreen does not protect you from cosmic rays and solar flairs.

No radiation is good but not being pragmatic and realistic can be foolish and injurious as well.

Dr. Dibling will be glad to discuss your concerns and educate you on your options at his no charge consultations. So what do you have to lose patients always remark that the time was well spent and extremely informative.