Advanced Laser and Cosmetic Dentistry Blog


My Smile In 3D

Dr. Chirag Patel - Dec 2014

Looking at your smile in 3D and seeing the length of your teeth and your actual jawbones is a neat experience. You’ll be shocked to see how your mouth looks when you get down to its bare bones. Dentists and oral surgeons, in particular, are happy to have the ability to examine your smile this way. Getting your smile in 3D is a procedure dentists undertake when they are taking dental X-rays with three-dimensional technology, like a dental CT scan, if they need to look at the small but important parts of your mouth and jaw.   

How Does a 3d Scan Work 
A 3D scan is often put together by taking several images of the mouth via X-ray. Like with any X-ray, seeing your smile in 3D does have some radiation risks, so if you’re pregnant, tell your dentist right away. For a dentist or oral surgeon, looking at your smile in 3D does have some benefits. They will be able to analyze your jawbone density and structure, and can locate nerves such as the alveolar nerve. This usually becomes necessary with dental implants and other major procedures. A general dental X-ray, which occurs once a year for most patients, generally provides specific images of the teeth rather than the whole mouth and jaw. These X-rays are fine for check-ups to see how the teeth are growing and to keep an eye on wisdom teeth. However, a 3D photo is more of an overall look that allows dentists and surgeons to see the big picture. Sometimes, surgeons will have you take a 3D dental CT scan prior to wisdom teeth extraction due to the risk of hitting a nerve while removing those molars.   

Insurance and 3d Scans
One thing to keep in mind about these 3D scans is that they are often not covered by insurance. So, while the sight of seeing your smile in 3D and looking at the intricacies of your teeth and jaw might seem fun, you should probably limit getting those scans to when you actually need them. X-ray technology and machinery can be costly, especially if a machine is taking many images at once instead of a single image, like what usually happens with normal dental X-rays. Dental CT scans are easy and aren’t as involved as the regular scans — usually, you sit or stand while the machine revolves around your head. Soon enough, you’ll see your big smile looks without your face in the way!

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