The application of dental images in dentistry

Dental image of a patient's jaw

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The most common uses are individual images and panorama images.

The improvements in x-ray technology when creating individual or panorama images provide a detailed overview of the patient’s condition and are a great advantage.

The radiation that the patient experiences during a modern x-ray extremely low, meaning that the radiation exposure is not issue but only the quality of the image. If a more detailed image is required then the techniques with high-radiation dosage should be used. The value of the panorama image radiology has been proven time and time again and it is an intrinsic part of modern dental diagnostics.

There have been major improvements in panorama images technologies over the course of the last few years. However, the panorama image has some disadvantages when compared to individual images; the resolution is of poorer quality and the modern digital systems are not always suitable for the necessary projection geometry and position of the layers.

The modern technology does not allow for imaging of fine structures, especially anatomical structures which due to radiation absorption cannot be clearly distinguished from their surroundings. Advantages can to be expected from the dynamic and imaging processing of digital systems although some limitations remain. The orthopantogram can provide in special cases the indications that a targeted x-ray is necessary.

Practically, the panorama images are sufficient to evaluate cases relating to tooth preservation, parodontology and prostheses but do not cover all specialist diagnostic needs. But due to the fact that at the beginning of every course of treatment it is required that certain conditions are ruled out, such as maxillary sinus disorders or problems with the roots, an overview image remains a necessity.

Even though panorama images show contact point caries, marginal bone deterioration or pathological changes in certain cases, more discrete condition are harder to spot due to the lack of sharpness of the image on the film. Therefore, with regard to detail, individual images remain the benchmark. This is why this x-ray technique continues to be widely used when finer details are required i.e. the detection of approximal caries. If this condition is discovered early and the correct therapy is applied then the patient will not require any treatment with the dental drill – see the related video.

The advantages of the panorama images are the short time it takes to produce, the standardized projection, the larger area which is imaged and a lower dosage risk. The large area of covered by the images means the panorama images are of special significance for early diagnosis of changes in the jaw and facial region. Each type of images has certain advantages and a place in modern jaw, oral and dental diagnostics.

This post is also available in: German

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