One of the most important technologies for dentists is imaging technology. Being able to see inside a patient’s mouth is critical. While dentists used to rely on traditional x-rays to see inside a patient’s mouth, we now have 3-D digital imaging available that allows dentists to diagnose and treat oral health-related with more speed, accuracy, and comfort than traditional methods.
3-D digital imaging uses new technology to take three-dimensional images and impressions of the mouth with great detail. Whereas traditional x-ray photos are flat and only show one side of the mouth at a time, usually without any color or contrast, 3-D images let a dentist simultaneously see all sides of the mouth.
This makes it easier to identify cavities in a tooth that is otherwise hard to reach or to catch lesions in the mouth, skin splotches, and other deformities that might otherwise go unnoticed.
There are a few different types of technology that dentists can use to get 3-D images. Here are a few examples:
Panoramic x-rays are a relatively new technology that lets the dentist take a 360-degree x-ray of the mouth in one photograph instead of needing multiple x-rays from multiple angles to get the whole picture.
This makes it easier to look at potential problems in the mouth and treat them. Being able to see the front, back, and sides of a patient’s mouth, including the teeth and jaw bone, and joints, makes it faster and easier to diagnose potential issues as well.
Another type of technology is the intraoral scanner or camera. These tools create computer-aided pictures of the mouth and let the dentist make impressions and see in vivid detail the shape of the mouth, gums, tongue, teeth, and throat. It is far less invasive than traditional exams and helps spot issues more efficiently.