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Dental Imaging in Implant Treatment Planning

Chan, Hsun-Liang DDS*; Misch, Kelly DDS, MS; Wang, Hom-Lay DDS, MSD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ID.0b013e3181e59ebd
Clinical Science and Techniques

Objectives: Proper implant treatment planning remains the first priority for implant success. Dental imaging is an important tool to accomplish this task. Traditional radiographs provide adequate information about proposed implant sites; however, limited film size, image distortion, magnification, and a 2-D view restrict their use in some cases. The purpose of this study is to provide an update about recent advancements in implant imaging to facilitate ideal implant treatment planning.

Search Strategy: A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE to identify studies related to this topic using the keywords of implant imaging, computed tomography (CT), cone beam CT (CBCT), and digital implant planning.

Results: Medical CT scan produce 3-dimensional replicas of anatomical areas with high resolution and accuracy. Although this type of imaging was introduced almost 20 years ago for implant planning, until recently it is widely used in most of the advanced procedures. CBCT is an advanced version of this technique. The advantages of CBCT are its specific design for the maxillofacial region, a reduced radiation exposure, cheaper, and excellent quality of images. Today, many companies are developing these cutting-edge machines and making it possible for dentists to use in their practices.

Conclusions: Coupled with converting software programs, CT/CBCT images may assist in selecting implant dimensions and predicting treatment outcomes. Understanding the up-to-date development of imaging aids could potentiate our ability in planning implant therapy.

*Resident, Graduate Periodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

†Adjunct Instructor, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and Private practice, Ann Arbor, MI.

‡Professor and Director of Graduate Periodontics, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Reprint requests and correspondence to: Hom-Lay Wang, DDS, MSD, PhD, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, 1011 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078, E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.