Until recently, x-ray imaging of the teeth and jaws has been limited to two-dimensional images. However, just as the earth isn’t flat, no-one has a flat face – we’re all three-dimensional (3D) objects!
Fortunately, the Priestgate Clinic is able to offer ultra-modern and superb quality 3D imaging. This greatly aids accurate spatial diagnosis of complex orthodontic and maxillofacial surgery problems such as buried teeth, jaw size mismatches, facial asymmetry and narrow pharyngeal (neck) airway sizes (important in snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea diagnosis). This imaging has enhanced treatment decision making, e.g. making it easier for surgeons to locate buried teeth and even simplifying surgical plans so that the procedure can be performed less invasively and even under local anaesthesia (compared with treatment plans based on traditional 2D x-ray images).
Consultant orthodontist, Richard Cousley explains further that the state-of-the-art imaging machine now available in Peterborough, known as cone-beam computer tomography, is one of the few in the UK to take a range of images from close ups of individual teeth through to full-face views. Our x-ray equipment is very patient friendly, even for children. Furthermore, both our 2D and 3D imaging technology provides some of the lowest exposure (dosage) levels available anywhere in the world.
The 3D x-rays are complemented by a 3D intra-oral scanner. This takes thousands of tiny photographs inside the mouth and stitches them into a virtual 3D model, without the need for mouthfuls of dental impression material. The associated software then enables sophisticated treatment planning, including the virtual movement of teeth and jaws in 3D to produce orthodontic aligners (braces) through to 3D jaw surgery guides.