Inside Dentistry
October 2016
Volume 12, Issue 10

Benefits of 3D Imaging in Your Practice

Figure 1 | Orthodontists are devoted to beautiful smiles. We have the potential of changing a patient’s life. Having an i-CAT™ has changed my treatment planning process and broadened my patient care capabilities.

In my practice, every patient receives a 3D scan as part of their diagnostic records. From that one scan, we gain a pan, lateral and AP ceph, 3D volume, articulation, and cone beam imagery/cross-sections. When using the QuickScan+ setting, all of this patient-specific information can be captured in a 4.8-second scan that emits radiation comparable to a 2D panoramic x-ray.1,2

On our 3D scan, we can see conditions such as ectopic teeth or mesiodens that were not visible on a 2D pan. I recently saw a patient in my office for a second opinion. While her 2D imaging showed skeletal asymmetries, without the 3D scan, one was unaware of degeneration of her jaw and joints. I determined that the patient was not a candidate to start orthodontic treatment at that time because braces would have moved her teeth into an even worse malocclusion. We were fortunate to diagnose her specific condition before any treatment took place, referring her to an oral surgeon for proper care to help avoid a possible negative outcome.

My dental colleagues appreciate when 3D imaging helps to ensure more thorough treatment for their patients. Scans are easily and securely shared, and those clinicians don’t have to send their patients to an imaging center to obtain that benefit.

3D imaging has also changed our diagnostic records procedures. We no longer have the need to take and store models on every patient. With all of the detailed views and information available from a 3D scan, I can efficiently create customized appliances to achieve more predictable tooth movements and avoid root resorption or damage to surrounding structures. This modern technology elevates patient care and their appreciation shows in their smiles.

Through i-CAT, dentists have the possibility for continuing education on 3D CBCT use. I am constantly exploring its applications such as airway and TMD evaluation. As with anything, there has been a learning curve, but with perseverance and devotion, I learned how to use this technology efficiently and effectively. The benefits that 3D imaging has brought to my practice have been priceless and well worth the extra effort.


1. Ludlow JB, Walker C. Assessment of phantom dosimetry and image quality of i-CAT FLX cone-beam computed tomography. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2013;144(6):802-817.

2. i-CAT indications for use.

Imaging Sciences International

About the Author

Darshana Novick, DDS, MS, practices orthodontics in Chicago and River Forest, Illinois. She is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the Chicago Dental Society, Illinois State Dental Society, the American Dental Association, and the Illinois Society of Orthodontists. Dr. Novick earned her dental degree, Masters of Science, and Certificate in Orthodontics at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she also completed her Orthodontic Residency.

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