3D Imaging–Know What You Didn’t Know

Although I have only had the CBCT for about 6 months, it has already prevented complications during implant placement. One patient had a trifed inferior alveolar nerve and a focal osteosclerosis, an area where there is no trabecular bone. If I tried to place an implant into that area without the knowledge from the 3D scan, the implant would have fallen through the patient’s jaw.

As clinicians, we have the duty to make determinations on factors that affect a patient’s overall health. I recently saw a 39-year old man and observed that he was overweight and had a poor craniofacial posture angle — contributing factors of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). I took a CBCT scan and used Tx STUDIO™ software tools for airway analysis. The visualization showed his airway was extremely constricted. I sent him with his scan for a conventional sleep study to determine if he was indeed suffering from OSA. He had an AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index) of 46; a severe case is considered anything over 30. His blood oxygen saturation (SPO2) was in the 50s, and normal range is 94% to 99%. He was referred to a pulmonologist for further treatment. Now, every time he comes in, he says, “You saved my life.”

3D image of i-CAT scan

Only CBCT can deliver this information, and i-CAT does it best.

A CBCT scanner offers many advantages. 3D images can provide details regarding bone structure, tooth orientation, buccolingual dimensions, concavities, and bone height that cannot be seen with 2D imaging. When I researched CBCTs, I saw that not all models were the same. The i-CAT™ FLX was the best choice for my practice because of its low-dose options, its implant- and airway-friendly treatment planning software, and readily available and knowledgeable customer support. Now that I have my i-CAT, I know there is truth in the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know that you didn’t know it.”3D scans save me time and money. It used to take over an hour to place a single implant. Now I place six in that same time using 3D-guided surgery. I also save money on angled abutments. I can put my implants in at the same angle every single implant, saving more than $100 per implant on angled abutments.

An i-CAT scan is a great education tool and good marketing. I show patients a 3D volume rendering of their skull, and I ask, “Are you flossing?” and then I shake the 3D head and say “Noooo.” They often whip out their phones, take a video, and post it on Facebook with a status that says, “Dr. Hoffpauir is the best—look what he can do!”

When I need information on CBCT, i-CAT’s experienced and friendly support team answers my questions. I can also learn more at continuing education events like the 3D Congress on Dental Imaging. Although I read my own scans, if I find a questionable area, I can securely and quickly send the digital file to a radiologist for another opinion. i-CAT 3D imaging gives me confidence to expand my practice and helps to keep my patients safe.

Originally published in Sidekick Magazine.

About the Author: Dr. Hoffpauir graduated from the University of Texas School of Dentistry. He opened his practice in Alvin, Texas, where he practices General Dentistry. In a recent article in Sidekick, when asked why he chose to start his own practice, Dr. Hoffpauir stated, “I wanted to practice dentistry in the way I believed it could be practiced. I wanted to be more than a tooth mechanic; I wanted to be an oral physician.” This philosophy, along with a deep passion for dentistry and the lives that it impacts, shapes every facet of Dr. Hoffpauir’s professional life.