Position statement from the AAOMR on radiology in dental implantology

The American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Radiologists reviewed recent literature and provided their recommendations on radiology in dental implantology.

The June 2012 position paper looked at clinical considerations, stating that “Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic conceptual shift from a surgically driven to a prosthetically driven approach to dental-implant therapy. It is no longer acceptable practice to place implants in alveolar bone without a previously developed plan for prosthetic restoration. To optimize implant placement and to avoid surgical complications, the clinician must have full knowledge of oral-bone anatomy so that any osseous-topography, bone-volume excesses/deficiencies can be corrected before implant placement.”

When considering panoramic imaging the paper states that, “Because of its inherent limitations, panoramic radiography is considered unsuitable as a single imaging source for dental-implant site assessment.”

The authors favor cross-sectional imaging, stating that “Cross-sectional imaging techniques produce in-focus, thin-section images… The main advantage of these images for implant dentistry is that they minimize or eliminate anatomic superimposition. Image sections perpendicular to the long axis of the region (object) of interest (e.g., the mandibular arch) are referred to as cross-sectional trans-axial images. Cross-sectional images provide optimal accuracy for visualizing the bony architecture of the jaws.”

In summary, “the AAOMR recommends that cross-sectional imaging be used for the assessment of all dental implant sites and that CBCT is the imaging method of choice for gaining this information.”

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