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General Dentistry

Advanced Dental Care in Rexburg - 3D X-Ray System

December 27, 2018

At Apple Tree Dental it is our mission to provide extraordinary integrity, care, and comfort. To fulfill that mission, we are always looking for the most advanced technology that will serve our patients by improving both diagnosis and treatment outcomes. With that in mind, we wanted to introduce the newest member of our team, the Kavo OP 3D.  It’s a 3D X-ray System.

A 3D X-ray showing upper and lower jaws
A 3D x-ray showing upper and lower jaws

Why a 3D X-ray System?

For decades dentists have been relying on traditional 2D x-rays that allowed them to view the jaw and teeth on a single plane. This allowed us to diagnose problems and make decisions to help better serve our patients. While these traditional x-rays were very helpful, there were some drawbacks.  The downside to 2D x-rays is that we truly couldn’t see the whole picture.  When there is a serious problem the x-ray could be misleading, and we couldn’t see with pinpoint accuracy where the problem was.

An infected tooth
Notice the infected tooth behind the canine. You can see the round black space at the apex of the tooth.

That’s all changed with our 3D X-ray system. You see, our new machine allows us to take x-rays in a three-dimensional way.  The equipment takes very small pictures of any object in every dimension.  Each piece is combined to create a 3D x-ray.  This results in the ability to see an extraordinary picture.  Then with pinpoint accuracy, I can locate exactly where a problem is!  It is all important for several reasons, but I’ll give you a clear example.

How Does it Benefit Me?

Before I became a dentist in Rexburg, I served our country the Army in Landstuhl Germany. Landstuhl was the main medical facility for any solider outside of the United States.  Soldiers deployed downrange, hurt, or with medical and dental issues would be sent to Landstuhl.  One of our soldiers was deployed in the Middle East and had developed severe pain.  The closest dentist had taken a traditional x-ray but was unable to diagnose the problem, so they flew the soldier to me.  

Infected tooth
Look at the highlighted infected area

The traditional 2D x-ray was very misleading and made it look like there wasn’t a problem.  It was obvious by his pain that one specific tooth was a problem. We made a 3D scan of his tooth, and instantly I saw the problem.  There was an infection from his tooth that had destroyed enough bone to invade his sinus.  The anatomy of the upper jaw has a lot of overlapping bone that can be deceiving on a traditional 2D x-ray.

Infection destroyed bone allowing the infection to enter the sinus(big black space)

Better Root Canals!

Missed 4th canal

One of the trickiest things for a dentist is finding all the canals in a tooth.  In the case I mentioned about the infected soldier’s tooth, the problem was a missed canal. What does that mean!?  Each tooth has nerves and blood tissue in the root of the tooth.  This nerve and blood supply to a tooth is inside canals of the tooth’s root.  It’s unpredictable how many canals the body makes in a tooth.  The problem for that soldier was that one specific root had two canals, and not just one.  The dentist who had done his root canal was unable to find the extra canal, and over time that “missed canal” had become infected.  When we make a 3D scan, we can find all the canals so that you don’t end up like that soldier!

Safer Replacement of Missing Teeth with Dental Implants

Whenever I am replacing missing teeth, it is really important to know if there is enough bone left in an area to place a dental implant. It’s also very important to avoid placing an implant near or around nerves or blood vessels.  Space may be lacking between a nerve or blood vessel, and in some cases, the sinus limits my ability to place an implant. We even need to know if the bone is dense enough to support the implant. There are a lot of factors that we simply can not accurately measure from a traditional 2D x-ray. This becomes a safety concern and makes the process more difficult for myself and the patient.  The traditional approach can be frustrating for everyone, but the 3D image helps make outcomes more predictable.

Better Airway Health and Better Sleep

Airway health is very important to your health.  Many people suffer from breathing disorders that relate to the airway, and many of these are sleep related.  Someone with a small airway can have extreme difficulty moving air in and out.  Not being able to fully breath limits the oxygen for your brain, which as you can imagine is vital to life and health.  When a person sleeps, the muscles of the neck and throat relax, and the airway can collapse to a dangerous level.  This can make breathing nearly impossible, and with cases like sleep apnea the airway can completely close, and a person will stop breathing.  With a 3D x-ray, Dr. Larsen measures your airway and can quantify how big or small yours may be.  This is an excellent way he can identify if you might be pre-disposed to airways issues.  He has successfully treated many airway disorders and made a huge impact on our patients’ lives.

Healthy airway
A healthier airway as evidence by the green
Unhealthy airway
A very unhealthy airway as evidenced by all the red and black

A 3D X-ray Means More Comfort and Care for You

Now that we have 3D x-rays, we can accurately account for all the factors I mentioned before.  Most importantly it’s another way that Apple Tree Dental in Rexburg shows extraordinary integrity, care, and comfort.  In an earlier blog, I talked about using our 3D printer to create a surgical guide. With 3D x-rays, I can go even further and begin my measurements immediately after taking the x-ray because of the accuracy of a 3D image.

Providing extraordinary integrity, care, and comfort is what we do at Apple Tree Dental in Rexburg, and our 3D x-ray system is just one more way we accomplish our mission!

Apple Tree Dental
33 Winn Dr Suite 2
Rexburg, ID 83440

-Sky B. Sessions, DDS