It’s what’s inside that counts…
How on earth are we nearly halfway through February!? January seemed to last forever, yet February is flying by, and throwing all the elements at us while it’s here! I hope the winds didn’t affect you too much this weekend – I was definitely a bit fed up after my park run, it felt like I was running against a brick wall! I am determined to get myself to my 50th park run before I have Baby Piper – only 8 more to go, so hopefully the weather will settle down and give me a fighting chance! The way I feel about it right now, I will crawl around Greenham Common to get to number 50 if I have to…! (ask me again in 4 weeks – I imagine my enthusiasm might have subsided a little!)
Here at The Briars, one part of my job is to take CB (cone beam) CT scans for both in-house and referred in patients. These scans produce 3D cross-sectional images of the jaw and of the teeth – it’s essentially a smaller, faster and safer version of a ‘normal’ CT scanner. The ‘cone beam’ element relates to the shape of the x-ray beam, which enables us to use a much lower radiation dosage, and shorter scanning time.
These scans can be required for a number of reasons, but many are sent over as part of the assessment for implant placement, or to investigate pathology associated with teeth that can’t always be seen on a 2D radiograph. These scans can show us bone structures, jaw structures, root canals, sinuses, even tumours. They can also be helpful with locating the origin of toothache – sometimes fractures in teeth aren’t always visible on a normal dental x-ray, but will show up on a 3D image. The CBCT scans are a fantastic, and fascinating diagnostic tool – and one of my favourite parts of the job!
The image on the left is a sectional 2D x-ray of the patient – the images in the middle and on the right make up part of their CBCT scan!
I took a scan for a patient last week, and we were both marvelling over the advances in technology – how wonderful it is that technology that was once restricted to a hospital setting can now be used in the dental practice. Not only is it more convenient to have all your treatment carried out under one roof – it also means you can avoid the evils of hospital parking! After I have scanned a patient, I show them the result on the screen, and check we have scanned all the areas that their dentist has requested. I often get asked the big questions by patients – ‘is the area suitable for an implant?’ ‘can you see if there is a fracture line?’ – but my qualification doesn’t go quite that far, and sadly I can’t answer their burning questions. What I can show them, is the 3D image of the area we’ve scanned – and for most, that is fascinating enough!
It’s not just the dental 3D scans that interest me though – Richard and I were lucky enough to have a private gender scan of our baby – mostly to satisfy my nosey nature and to confirm my suspicions that the little blob we’d met on week 12 was a baby boy! This too can be done outside the usual hospital setting – we had ours at a small private clinic in Didcot, in a shopping outlet of all places! At the gender scan, we were shown him in 3D, and it was absolutely incredible. Because we could find out near Christmas, we decided to have the scan and open the results on Christmas day – which meant the poor sonographer had to hide his lower half from us! She kept turning the screen on and off to make sure he stayed a surprise – but even without his lower half on the screen, the image was one the best I’ve ever seen. We could make out his little arm moving across his face, rubbing his tiny nose – we saw his little mouth opening and closing – it was just a knock me down with a feather kind of wow. Obviously I wouldn’t imagine everyone to have that kind of reaction to their CBCT scan, although seeing your teeth for the first time in 3D might bring on tears of joy?
I hope you all have a lovely weekend – apparently the temperature is set to hit double figures and we’ll get to see some sunshine!
Amy xGo Back