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Implants, 3D CT Scanning & CEREC

CT Scans: 

The cephalometric X-ray is a unique tool that enables the dentist to capture a complete radiographic image of the side of the face.  X-rays in general offer the dentist a way to view the teeth, jawbone, and soft tissues beyond what can be seen with the naked eye.  Cephalometric X-rays are extraoral, meaning that no plates or film are inserted inside the mouth. Cephalometric and panoramic X-rays display the nasal and sinus passages, which are missed by intraoral bitewing X-rays.

Cephalometric X-rays are usually taken with a panoramic X-ray machine. The adapted machine will have a special cephalometric film holder mounted on a mechanical arm. An X-ray image receptor is exposed to ionizing radiation in order to provide the dentist with pictures of the entire oral structure. The advantage of both cephalometric and panoramic X-rays is that the body is exposed to less radiation.

Cephalometric X-rays are not as common as “full sets” or bitewing X-rays, but they serve several important functions:

  • Provide views of the side profile of the face.
  • Provide views of the jaw in relation to the cheekbone.
  • Provide information about “bad bites” or malocclusions.
  • Allow measurement of the teeth.
  • Identify fractures and other injuries to the teeth and jawbone.
  • Assists in orthodontic planning.

How are cephalometric X-rays taken?

Cephalometric X-rays are completely painless. The head is placed between the mechanical rotating arm and the film holder, which is placed on another arm.  The arm rotates around the head capturing images of the face, mouth, and teeth.  The clarity and sharpness of these images will depend on the positioning of the body. The images are usually magnified up to 30%, so any signs of decay, disease, or injury can be seen and treated.

After capturing cephalometric X-rays, the dentist will be able to see a complete side profile of the head. This can assist in orthodontic planning and allow an immediate evaluation of how braces might impact the facial profile and teeth.  Another common use for this type of X-ray is to determine specific measurements prior to the creation and placement of dental implants. 


Dental Implants:

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures.  Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.

Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist - a specialist of the gums and supporting bone.  The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!

Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years.  On occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.

Reasons for dental implants:

  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
  • Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
  • Restore a patient’s confident smile.
  • Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.
  • Support a bridge or denture, making it more secure and comfortable.

What does getting dental implants involve?

The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.

X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant.  While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself for up to six months.   Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place.  With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.

After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor.  Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete.  After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.

You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed.  Good oral hygiene and eating habits, alongside regular dental visits, will aid in the life of your new implant.


CEREC® - Same Day Crowns and Restorations:

Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC®) has revolutionized dental procedures. Traditionally, if crowns, onlays, inlays or dental veneers were required to restore damaged teeth, multiple procedures and a great deal of waiting time in-between would be inevitable. CEREC® creates these ceramic restorations within minutes in the dental office. This means that many treatments can be completed in just a single visit.

CEREC® is comprised of several computer-assisted design (CAD) tools and a milling machine that creates custom ceramic restorative devices. CEREC® can benefit almost anyone needing a ceramic restoration. This is of great benefit to nervous patients, and it can also reduce the cost of treatment.

How can CEREC® benefit me?

CEREC® can benefit almost anyone needing a ceramic restoration.  Exceptions include patients who have a prior history of breaking ceramic devices and those with a deep bite. CEREC® devices are proven to last for over 5 years, but recent research indicates that most CEREC®-created restorations last for more than 10 years.

Additional advantages associated with CEREC® include:

  • No temporary restorations
  • High-quality ceramic products
  • Minimal invasiveness
  • Less injections and discomfort
  • Fewer dental visits
  • Cost effectiveness
  • More natural tooth is saved
  • Long lasting restorations
  • Biocompatible solutions

What is the CEREC® system comprised of?

The CEREC® System is sometimes called a CAD-CAM system. CAD-CAM means Computer Assisted Design and Computer Assisted Milling. The CEREC® system has three major components:

Acquisition device: This device is home to a high-quality camera and a medical grade computer. The function of this unit is to photograph the prepared tooth. Three-dimensional images are created of the tooth on the screen, which the dentist uses to design the perfect ceramic restoration.

Three-dimensional CAD software: This software allows the dentist to examine the tooth from every angle. It is the closest possible thing to holding the tooth in the hands and rotating it.

Milling device: This unit actually manufactures the custom restoration from the specifications entered into the computer. A ceramic block that best resembles the existing tooth color is chosen and placed into the unit.  Within minutes, the milling device produces the restoration the dentist designed.

What does a CEREC® restoration procedure involve?

The first step in the procedure is preparing the tooth for the restoration.  Depending on your particular case, the dentist will take photos of your affected teeth using one of CEREC’s® two imaging solutions.  If using CEREC® Omnicam, the dentist will take several images of the tooth, sending a three-dimensional, colored model to the CEREC® machine.  If using CEREC® Bluecam, the dentist will coat the teeth with a contrasting agent before taking images of your teeth.

These images are transposed onto the computer screen, where the dentist will view the tooth from every angle and design the final restoration.  When the design is complete, it will be transmitted to the milling unit.  
The dentist will insert a block of ceramic, matching your tooth color, into the milling machine which will then create the full crown, onlay, inlay, or veneer.  Before affixing the restoration to the tooth, the dentist will perform a dry fit to ensure comfort.  Once a perfect fit is established, the restoration will be polished and affixed to the tooth with dental cement. 

If you have questions about Dental implants, 3D CT Scans or CEREC®, please contact our office.