Toxic Tuesday – 2D and 3D X-rays: Which is better?
In the dental radiology world there are physical film X-rays and digital X-rays. Digital X-ray sensors first came on the market about 20 years ago. Many dentists have switched to digital X-rays for the primary advantages of requiring significantly less radiation to capture an image, the ability to manipulate the image for greater contrast, the ability to see the image on a large screen which makes sharing the image with patients much easier, and the ability to store the information digitally. Take it from a guy who bought a practice 22 years ago that was still using traditional “X-ray films” which had to be stored in a physical paper chart…..digital is WAY better!
3D “Cone-Beam” CT scans came into the dental market approximately 15 years ago. They offer the primary advantage of being able to visualize the three dimensional structures of your head in…3D!! What a novel concept! 3D CBCT X-rays also allow for surgical planning for implants and various other dental procedures with greater predictability and accuracy.
Both 2D and 3D X-rays have their place in oral healthcare. And although it would be great if every dentist had both, the cost of 3D CBCT systems and 2D digital sensors is significant. Many dentists have to save for years before being able to afford “all the bells and whistles”.
In the video below, I want to demonstrate a situation where the differences between the 2D and 3D digital X-rays of the same tooth were quite significant. Keep in mind that X-rays are just one piece of information a dentist will gather when making assessments and diagnoses.
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