Diagnostic imaging is an advanced technique that helps dental professionals in determining the crucial factors for implementing a comprehensive treatment for implant placement. Moreover, radiographic imaging is essential in every step of implant therapy.
Typically, diagnostic imaging for implants consists of a series of radiographs that help to visualize the location for implant placement. Additionally, it helps to account for the proximity of surrounding structures, the density, and the height of the jaw bone. (1)
Diagnostic imaging for implants may require a range of x-rays starting from simple periapical radiographs to more complex CT scans. Let’s read the article to know more about the importance and types of diagnostic imaging for implant therapy.
Importance of diagnostic imaging for dental implants
Usually, dental x-rays are advised during routine dental check-ups to detect tooth cavity, filings, and infections. However, dental imaging plays a crucial role in implant therapy. Typically, radiographs are required during three critical phases of implant treatment –
Pre-surgical implant imaging
In this phase, radiographs are usually taken to determine a comprehensive treatment plan. Moreover, it is used to study the following features –
- Determine the quality, quantity, and angulations of the jaw bone
- Determine the proximity and association of surrounding structures to the implant site
- Detection of infection in the jaw bone (2)
Surgical implant imaging
In this phase, the radiographic study assists the dentist in the surgical and prosthetic intervention of the patient. Other objectives of radiographs during the second phase are –
- Evaluation of the surgical site during and after implant placement
- Determination of the optimal position and orientation of the implant
- Evaluate the healing and integration phase of the implant therapy
- Ensure that the abutment position and prosthesis are correct
Post-prosthetic implant imaging
This type of imaging is performed after the placement of the dental prosthesis. It usually evaluates the long term maintenance and success of the implant. Moreover, it helps to determine the crestal bone level post-treatment.
What types of dental x-rays are required for a dental implant?
Typically, implant therapy requires a series of two dimensional and three-dimensional imaging to plan treatment for implant placement accurately. Some of the common types of radiographs used for implant therapy are as follows –
The periapical radiograph allows the dentist to visualize the site of the implant, along with the surrounding tissue. Additionally, it helps to diagnose any periapical infections or bone diseases. Other objectives of periapical radiographs include –
- Assessment of the bone level
- Assessment of Osseointegration or bone loss around the implant
- Position of the adjacent teeth in the jaw(3)
Panoramic radiographs are usually required to get a broader view of the dental arch and jaw bone. It is used by dentists to plan for dental implants. Some of the features that can be identified through panoramic x-ray are as follows –
- Evidence of bone disease
- Bony fractures
- Abnormal changes around the site of the implant
- Alignment of the teeth
- Position of the maxillary sinus
CT scan or computed tomography is a three-dimensional imaging technique that provides multiple cross-section images of the jaw bone. This high-quality radiograph is complex. However, it is an excellent diagnostic tool to determine the position and placement of the dental implant.
Other features identified by CT scan may include –
- Determination of the bone quality and quantity
- Diagnosis of bone disease or tumors (4)
- Position of anatomical structures
- The proximity of the dental nerve to the implant site
Cone-beam computed tomography is a faster and safer version of the traditional CT scan. It typically provides a three-dimensional view of the entire mouth, including the height and exact location of all the dental structures. Moreover, CBCT can determine the presence of cysts, tooth impactions, as well as damage to the nerves or arteries that are crucial for implant therapy.