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I-CAT 3D Imaging

A woman using an I-Cat system at Naborowski Orthodontics in Addison, ILWhen oral health issues arise, an oral exam is essential. With a complete oral exam, we can get to the root cause of your symptoms. During your exam, we look over all visible structures in your mouth. While this is a crucial part of your exam, it is only just one part. While there are many parts of your mouth that we can see, there are also parts that we cannot. To provide you with optimal care, we need to see all components of your mouth. At Naborowski Orthodontics, we use the latest tools and technologies to see the hidden parts of your mouth, including I-CAT 3D imaging.

What is I-CAT 3D Imaging?

I-CAT 3D imaging is an advanced technology that allows us to see the hidden components of your mouth in incredible detail. It uses CBCT, or cone beam computed tomography, technology. The technology used for this type of imaging is similar to the technology used for digital X-rays. The images it produces are fairly similar to those images produced by a traditional CT scan.

3D imaging involves the use of a special machine. This machine, which you sit at, has a cone-shaped X-ray beam that rotates a full 360 degrees around your head. As the X-ray beam rotates, it captures numerous images. The entire scan takes less than a minute to complete. Once your image is complete, the images are pieced together to create a single 3-dimensional image that is displayed on the computer monitor.

It takes very little time for this to occur, and your 3D image appears almost instantly. We can then view your image and manipulate it in some different ways to diagnose specific issues and provide you with the best possible treatment plan. 

How is I-CAT 3D Imaging Different Than Panoramic Imaging?

Panoramic X-rays are another alternative to traditional X-rays, but they are very different from I-CAT 3D images. For one, the image it takes is completely flat, or 2-dimensional. This type of scan is similar to a traditional X-ray, but it moves around rather than staying in place. Still, the image is flat. This type of imaging is often good for many types of dental issues and may even provide good information regarding tooth and jaw-related problems. However, it is still limited in the information it can provide for some problems. For instance, it cannot show damage or displacement of the temporomandibular joints, information that is essential for diagnosing TMJ related problems.

An I-CAT 3D image, however, shows the structures of your mouth in 3-dimensions. This allows for a more accurate representation of the complex structures in your mouth, including your TMJ. In addition to seeing your mouth in greater detail, we can also use specialized software to manipulate your images. We can rotate your image so that we can see your mouth from multiple different angles. We can also zoom in on specific areas and enhance them for better clarity. This allows us to see the smallest details of your mouth with ease.

Planning Orthodontic Treatment

As orthodontists, our goal helps make sure that your teeth and jaws fit together properly, ensuring a proper, comfortable bite and optimal oral health. We also strive to provide you with the greatest aesthetic benefits by helping you to achieve an ideal smile. This requires harmony between your teeth and your jaws. The I-CAT scan provides us with exact representations of your teeth, supporting bone, jaws, TMJ, and other bony structures. These images prevent distortion, which can lead to misdiagnosis of root angulation miss impacted teeth, and other similar issues that can otherwise affect the outcome of your orthodontic treatment.

With 3D imaging, we can also avoid the need for taking traditional impressions. These traditional impressions use a messy, uncomfortable putty that can cause gagging for some patients. Your 3D images show your teeth in 3D, providing us with exact one-to-one measurements. There is no more need for impression putty. Patients with dental anxiety often appreciate this feature of the 3D scans.

Once we have a complete, and accurate, image of your mouth and your specific situation, we can then design a customized orthodontic treatment plan that will provide you with the best results possible, improving your oral health, your quality of life, and the appearance of your smile.

Optimal Implant Placement

I-CAT 3D images can be used for so much more than orthodontics. Another use for this type of imaging is planning optimal implant placement. Implants are a popular treatment used to replace missing teeth. It is a much more involved treatment than traditional bridges and dentures, using small posts made from titanium that are surgically placed into your jawbone. Implants rely on a process called osseointegration. This is a natural process that occurs gradually. Your jawbone fuses to the posts, stabilizing them in your jaw. They essentially become strong, secure roots that are then used to hold your new teeth in place.

For osseointegration to be successful, your implants require enough bone mass for proper fusion. Without enough bone mass, your implants can fail. A 3D scan can help us to determine the best possible placement for your implants to ensure optimal osseointegration. We can also determine if your jawbone is strong enough to support dental implants or if you will need to undergo a bone graft surgery first. This is a surgical procedure that replaces missing bone mass in your jaw to restore its strength.

Thanks to I-CAT 3D imaging, we can also see other features of your mouth, including nerve passageways and sinus cavities. Hitting nerves with dental implants can result in issues such as permanent numbness while piercing the sinus cavity can result in chronic sinus infections and potential implant failure. With the ability to see these features in your mouth, optimal depth and angulation of the posts can be determined so that these areas can be avoided, ensuring excellent treatment results.

TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea

TMJ disorder is a term that refers to any issue that affects the health and functionality of your temporomandibular joints. Your TMJ can be affected by issues such as bruxism, poor tooth or jaw alignment, and more. These issues can lead to excruciating pain in your joints and incredible difficulty doing basic things like eating and speaking.

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects your quality of sleep. With sleep apnea, your breathing is disrupted for several seconds, several times a night. These disruptions in your sleep affect your sleep cycles, preventing you from getting the sleep your mind and body need to rest and repair fully. You wake up feeling incredibly exhausted and have difficulty functioning throughout the day.

TMJ disorder can cause sleep apnea while sleep apnea can lead to TMJ disorder. If your jaws are poorly aligned, the soft tissues of your mouth can slide back into your airway, causing a blockage. If you have sleep apnea, your jaw may slide backward. Not only do your intraoral tissues block your throat, but your jaw sliding backward can also lead to grinding and clenching, a condition known as bruxism. Over time, bruxism can wear on your TMJ, leading to TMJ disorder.

I-CAT images can be used to diagnose both TMJ disorders as well as sleep apnea, allowing for you to get the best treatment possible. We can narrow your image to focus solely on the TMJ. These complex joints are shown in great detail, allowing us to spot the smallest issues. We can more accurately determine the degree of any misalignment so that your treatment can be customized to provide you with the best results possible.

With I-CAT 3D images, where, and how severely, your airway is blocked. This allows ruling out of other potential causes of sleep apnea, such as sinus obstructions. With a more accurate picture of your specific situation, your treatment can then be customized to allow you to finally get the restful sleep you have been searching for.

Other Uses for I-CAT 3D Images

There are many other uses for I-CAT 3D images. These uses include
•  Looking at the internal anatomy of your teeth. This is useful for endodontic treatment. Since we can see the canals inside your teeth, we can more accurately plan your root canal treatment to eliminate infection and restore the health of the affected tooth.
•  Examining nasal passageways.
•  Diagnosing pathological diseases. 3D images can help us to diagnose many types of pathological diseases that might not be visible on a regular X-ray.
•  Diagnosing impacted teeth.
•  Examining tumors in your jaw.
•  Planning effective reconstructive surgery.

How is an I-CAT 3D Scan Done?

The process for getting an I-CAT 3D scan is incredibly simple and straightforward. It is also very quick. Before you sit down at the machine, you will be instructed to remove anything metal, including jewelry, piercings, and hair accessories. If you wear glasses or hearing aids, these will also need to be removed for the duration of your scan. When you are ready, you sit at the machine. Being seated for this scan is a feature that many patients appreciate. After you have been seated, we will have you place your chin on the rest. We will then make any necessary adjustments to the machine so that we will be able to capture the best possible image.

As soon as you are ready, we will take your image. While getting a 3D scan is quick and painless, taking less than 60 seconds to complete, it is important that you remain completely still. This ensures that your image will be more accurate. The X-ray beam rotates around your head, taking a series of images. In just a short time, these images are layered together to create your 3D image, which appears on our computer monitor. We are then able to read your image. We can check your mouth to assess your specific issues and your specific needs. We can also determine the best solutions to meet those needs and resolve your issues so that we can provide you with the best possible treatment outcome.

What are the Benefits of I-CAT 3D Imaging?

I-CAT 3D imaging provides many significant benefits. These include
•  Fast, painless images. Getting your 3D scan takes less than 60 seconds to complete, and it is completely non-invasive.
•  With just one scan, we can see teeth, supporting bone, jaws, joints, soft tissue, nerves, and more.
•  Accurate images. We are provided with incredibly accurate, high-quality images that provide exact one-to-one measurements. We can then create a customized treatment plan to meet your specific needs.
•  The ability to see the smallest details. Specialized software allows us to manipulate your 3D images in a variety of different ways. We can rotate the image to see your mouth at different angles. We can also zoom in on specific areas for a closer look.
•  You can see the image as well. We can then help you to understand better your diagnosis and your situation and why certain treatments are being recommended. With a better understanding of your situation, you can be more confident in your recommended treatment plan.
•  I-CAT 3D imaging uses less radiation than a traditional CT scan.

Is an I-CAT 3D Scan Safe?

Many patients express concerns about the use of the I-CAT scan. While I-CAT does use radiation, the radiation used is less than that of a traditional CT scan. Additionally, the radiation does not stay in your body. We take all necessary steps to ensure your safety during your scan.

If you are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant, however, having an I-CAT image taken is not recommended. There is no known safe levels of radiation exposure, even minor exposure, for unborn children. I-CAT scans are also not recommended for nursing mothers. For this reason, it is best to wait until after the birth of your child, or until after your child is finished nursing, before having this type of imaging done.

Thanks to the advanced technology of I-CAT 3D imaging, we can see more of your mouth than is possible on a regular panoramic X-ray. We can see the smallest details of your mouth, which allows us to provide you with a more accurate diagnosis and provide you with the best treatments possible. Call Naborowski Orthodontics at (630) 543-5051 today to learn more and schedule your consultation.

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