Computer-aided Design/Computer-aided Manufacturing Applications Using CT and Cone Beam CT Scanning Technology
Clinicians have been diagnosing, treatment planning, placing, and restoring modern dental implants using periapical and panoramic imaging films to assess bone anatomy for several decades. Two-dimensional film images have been found to have limitations because of inherent distortion factors, and the non-interactive nature of film itself provides little information regarding bone density, bone width, or spatial proximity of vital structures. Digital radiography permits some interaction to enhance diagnostic interpretation but ultimately remains two dimensional (2-D). It was not until CT scan technology became available for dental applications that the three-dimensional (3-D) properties of the jawbones and vital structures became apparent. The advent of 3-D reconstruction using CT or cone beam CT (CBCT) empowers clinicians with tools to simulate implant placement, bone grafts, or orthognathic surgical procedures in a true and accurate virtual environment. There are three basic views that a CT scan will provide: panoramic, axial, and cross-sectional. The fourth view contains the 3-D reconstruction, and may differ in quality depending on the scanning machine and the software that is used to manage the CT data.