Implant Site Assessment
Imaging of the residual alveolar ridge and adjacent structures is indicated both preoperatively and postoperatively in the placement of dental implants. In addition to ruling out pathology, imaging provides multidirectional views that allow the clinician to plan and follow the case for an optimal result.
CT is the procedure of choice for implant cases with multiple sites or extensive edentulous areas. Axial images are reconstructed into multiple cross-sectional, panoramic and axial views. In addition to osseous morphology, the location of significant anatomical structures such as the mandibular and mental canals, maxillary sinus, nasal fossa and submandibular fossa are visualized for optimal implant placement. Images may be printed on photographic paper or transferred to computer diskette for use with interactive software on the referring clinician's own computer. An acrylic imaging stent, provided by the referring doctor, with radiopaque (gutta percha or radiopaque composite) markers is indispensable in correlating the radiographic and clinical locations of implant sites.
Conventional Film Tomography
Conventional film tomography, like CT, provides cross-sectional images for studying the morphology of the intended implant site. The location of significant adjacent anatomical structures can be visualized with confidence. This technique is the procedure of choice for single implant sites.
Postoperative Implant Assessment
Intraoral and panoramic radiographs are usually adequate for postoperative implant assessment. Several views may be required for optimal visualization of the implant fixture. More complex cases may require conventional or computed tomography.