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3-D and Changing Lives

Dental Implantology is just plain exciting. It is life changing and important. As a Dental Implantologist, I change people’s lives all the time by helping them get a healthy smile back. This is not only about looking younger and attractive. It’s about being able to enjoy a solid meal. It’s about tasting food again and laughing happily out loud without teeth (dentures) falling out. It is about living life the way we were meant to, face to face, person to person and feeling confident about the closeness. These are the results of well-done dental implant therapy.

We now have another great tool, a game changing technology for dental implantology. It’s called Cone Beam Tomography or CBT. Simply put it is CT scan technology specifically adapted for use in the dental office. It has vastly improved imaging capabilities over conventional dental x-rays of all types and dramatically decreased radiation exposure as well. It can often eliminate the need for the small, multiple x-rays that we have used for years. You know , the ones that sometimes “pinch” when the film is placed in the mouth and the hygienists says bite down and hold still while your eyes are watering. It also allows us to create a 3-D image of the area being examined, upper or lower jaw, sinuses, teeth or all of the above. In essence by using this technology we can create an accurate “picture” in all three dimensions of what your jaws and teeth really look like.

Why is this so exciting?

When we rebuild a smile with full replacement of teeth or partial replacement with implants it is extremely valuable to know exactly how much bone we have to work with, where it is located, and what quality it is. Example: If you were putting screws into a wall to hang 10 heavy pictures, but you did not know where the studs were, or the electrical wires, or the heating ducts or your lost pet hamster, wouldn’t it be great to be able to take a scan of that wall and have it generate a virtual 3-dimensional rendering of it. You could then plan exactly where to place the screws to find the best support, to avoid the shocking experience of an electrical wire perforation, and the location of your pet hamster to save his/her life.

When we place implants we are putting precision “screws” into people’s jaw bones in which there are areas of more or less bone, blood vessels and nerves, and spaces called sinuses. We need to put the implants in the right place, at the correct angle to create a successful foundation for new teeth. With Cone Beam Tomography and 3 dimensional digital renderings we can do just that….find the exact locations in which to place the “screws” so that we have the best support possible without touching structures that need to be avoided. We can predict and plan how we are going to rebuild a smile. We can avoid potential complications. In short, it takes much of the “guesswork” out of the surgery and puts in another level of safety and predictability.

How do we do it?

All of this is done by standing in an open machine. After the head is positioned carefully, a small part of the structure moves slowly around the persons head. There is nothing in the mouth. Two minutes later, voila….a 3-dimensional recreation of the head appears on the computer monitor. Let the games begin as we skillfully and with great abandon go through views, scan slices and put together the foundation of a new smile for Mrs. Smith. There is still no substitute for skill and experience. Careful planning and careful execution are still the most important.

There are many more incredible aspects to this technology. But suffice it to say….it’s real, it’s worth it and it’s all good. Try it you’ll like it.

East Aurora Implant Dentistry

If you would like to learn more about Dental Implants, your specific problem, or this Cone Beam Technology, Dr. Meisner’s office is located at 250 Quaker Road, East Aurora, NY and can be reached at (716) 655-3500 or visit our website at