I had a tooth that was lost and am replacing it with a dental implant. My dentist wants to do a CT scan, but I feel like we’ve had enough x-rays at this point. Is the CT scan really necessary?
I would recommend you get the CT scan. One thing to be aware of is that a CT scan takes 3-dimensional images. This is important. Your mouth, jaw, and nasal cavity are not flat, like traditional x-rays. Think of it as the difference between a photo and a sculpture.
We get countless inquiries from other dentist’s patients who had their sinus cavity penetrated during the dental implant placement. This is a real risk which is totally preventable. Some dentists try to save money, thereby having lower prices than the next dentist, by skipping the CT-scan. These are often the dentists who end up making an error in judging the depth available to the implant. Some try to get away with this problem by using shorter implants. The problem is those rarely last as long and the patient won’t know why it failed.
If you are going to invest in the best tooth replacement, you want to make certain it has the tools to give it the greatest chance of success. Shortchanging yourself on diagnostics will sabotage those efforts.
There are quite a few causes that lead to dental implant failure. One of them is poor placement on the part of the dentist. Another is poor bone support. This is another issue that can be prevented if proper diagnostics are made.
As you can see from the image above, your dental implant is surrounded by bone. In order for the implant to stay in place, it has to integrate with that bone, which essentially grips it and holds it in place. Without adequate bone, the implant will come loose and fall out.
When you lose a tooth, your body immediately begins resorbing the minerals in the bone where the tooth was. It does this in an attempt to be as efficient as possible with your body’s resources. Depending on how long between the time you lost your tooth and the replacement, you could lose too much bone. For patients who get dentures, this ends up being devastating and ends in facial collapse.
I know it is tough when you have the option of not doing a diagnostic. However, if you were going to skip something, this would not be the test I would skip.
What if you have the CT scan and your dentist tells you that you do not have enough bone support? The good news is that doesn’t mean you cannot get dental implants, you will just need to add one quick additional procedure, bone grafting. This is an outpatient procedure that will build back up the missing bone, enabling you to get the support you need for your new tooth replacement.
This blog is brought to you by East Cobb Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.