The Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education, in Key Biscayne, Fla., has advanced its digital imaging capabilities with the acquisition of a 3-D Cone Beam Imaging System. This system produces thorough three-dimensional views of all oral and maxillofacial structures, allowing enhanced diagnosis and treatment planning. The images are more easily acquired and with improved accuracy than images produced by more traditional panorex and transcranial radiograph technology.
The patient is seated in an open environment. The machine, which resembles a traditional panorex, captures the natural orientation of the anatomy. The compact design and rapid image-acquisition capabilities enable the dental CAT Scan to capture 3-D images within 20 seconds. Data transfer to a local computer takes less than a minute. The completed scan is displayed on the monitor, and the interactive software allows the image to be formatted easily and desired "slices" selected for immediate viewing. Of particular interest is the ability to image the Articular eminence and condylar anatomy, and then isolate images specific to the medial or lateral pole of the condyle.
The Institute has the ability to export the data to a variety of implant treatment planning and 3-D viewing software programs. This software provides immediate, 3-D digital reconstructions of a patient's mouth, face, and jaw areas, which can be viewed on a computer screen or printed out in full color.
Because the dental CAT Scan offers advanced visualization of hard tissue anatomy and improved diagnostic capabilities, it is an excellent teaching tool. The Pankey Institute will offer students the opportunity to experience a scan and familiarize themselves with interpreting the data during the Continuum Level 2 course, "Splints, Occlusion and Advanced Diagnosis." Integration of this technology is a natural extension of The Pankey Institute's focus on comprehensive evaluation, understanding and managing the occlusion to create and maintain a balanced functional and esthetic result for the patient.
Several Pankey Institute research projects are planned to advance understanding of the relationship of occlusion to TMJ anatomy utilizing the accurate imaging capabilities of the 3-D Cone Beam Technology. The research goal is to understand normal condylar anatomy and position and the affect that alterations in the occlusal scheme have on these two factors.