Digital volume tomography (DVT) is a state-of-the-art X-ray procedure that enables the most precise and three-dimensional imaging of the head and face including jaws and paranasal sinuses with relatively low radiation exposure. Here, the high-resolution 3D images represent a valuable basis in modern diagnostics and also provide the optimal starting position for determining the best treatment for our patients.
In our practice in Berlin Charlottenburg, we always keep ourselves technically up to date and have our own DVT equipment of the latest generation. We have been working very successfully with DVT images for many years and would not want to do without this gain in diagnostics.
What is dental volume tomography (DVT)?
Digital volume tomography (DVT) is a state-of-the-art three-dimensional X-ray procedure that provides a high-resolution 3D image of the head and face, including the jaws and sinuses. This method allows, for example, the structures in the jaw area, such as bones, teeth and the course of nerves, to be assessed three-dimensionally and very accurately. In this way, inflammations, foreign bodies or metal splinters can be localised exactly and interventions can be planned with the greatest possible precision. This enables us to ensure that the treatments are safer and also gentler for our patients.
What are the advantages of DVT?
DVT enables us to display the examined region in all three levels of the room in its original size, with extremely high resolution and excellent image quality.
In addition, we obtain an exact and superimposed-free image of the anatomical situation in thin layers, which enables us to make a precise diagnosis and to clarify your complaints accurately.
This enables us to plan interventions precisely and to avoid damaging neighbouring structures such as nearby nerves. Such planning also enables us to carry out necessary interventions as gently, quickly and painlessly as possible.
The examination takes place in a relaxed atmosphere and takes less than a minute. Compared to conventional computer tomography (CT), DVT is also carried out under low radiation exposure. DVT can also completely dispense with the administration of contrast agents.
When is DVT used?
DVT is generally used in dental and orthodontic diagnostics as well as in ear, nose and throat diagnostics. But DVT also provides valuable services in the diagnosis of facial fractures after accidents.
In our practice DVT is mainly used for the following purposes:
- Precise planning in implantology and bone surgery
- Representation of displaced and surplus teeth (e.g. wisdom teeth) in relation to their neighbouring structures, such as nerves or neighbouring teeth
- Presentation of cysts, tumours and chemical-inflammatory processes such as periodontitis
- Assessment of the maxillary sinus and temporomandibular joints
For exact planning in implantology, prior clarification by DVT is essential. Particularly in the case of reduced bone supply, it is important to measure the remaining bone exactly and clarify its structure in advance before implantation. The course of nerves and the remaining height in the upper jaw in relation to the maxillary sinus must also be determined exactly. In this way it can be checked whether pre-treatment, such as bone augmentation, is necessary.
In addition, a computer-supported planning programme can determine the exact position of an implant in advance and produce individual drilling templates so that a procedure can be carried out as gently, safely and accurately as possible. In addition, the duration of an operation can also be shortened considerably in this way.
Removal of wisdom teeth
In the lower jaw, an important nerve runs along the chin, the lip and the teeth. There are wisdom teeth that are very close to the nerve, sometimes the nerve even runs between the roots. The exact neighbouring structure can only be clarified exactly by means of a high-resolution and three-dimensional image. The detailed recording of the structures and the exact planning of the procedure can prevent neighbouring structures, such as nearby nerves, from being injured during surgical removal.
Treatment of periodontitis
In periodontitis, the inflammation causes bone loss around the affected teeth. However, conventional X-rays do not show exactly what form the bone resorption takes. Is it a uniform horizontal or vertical bone resorption with the formation of deep bone pockets? The latter is more favourable for the success of a regenerative treatment and can be reliably assessed in the three-dimensional representation with a DVT.
Treatment of inflammation at the root tips
Due to an inflammation at the root tip, cysts and bone resorption can become so large that a root tip resection no longer makes sense and the tooth should be removed carefully and gently. In a conventional, two-dimensional X-ray, about 27% of the existing inflammations at the root tips cannot be detected at all. A DVT image can clarify this reliably and also provide an excellent assessment of the extent of the inflammation and also its position in relation to the surrounding structures such as the maxillary sinus and the mandibular nerve. In this way, the required therapy can be selected and a necessary, as gentle as possible intervention can be planned in the best possible way – without causing injuries to the neighbouring structures.
How does the examination with DVT proceed?
The examination with digital volume tomography (DVT) is performed in our practice in Berlin Charlottenburg. For this, you as a patient are first taken to our X-ray room, where the DVT device is also located. You may sit down for the examination. You do not have to fear any claustrophobia, as you do not have to go into a “tube”. You can look forward to a pleasant atmosphere.
The device is now positioned so that the X-ray tube can rotate around your head. The rotation is almost silent and takes less than a minute. The device will not touch you or cause you any pain. It is also not necessary to administer a contrast medium.
The device generates 200 to 600 images, which are then transmitted to a high-performance computer and finally evaluated by Dr. med. Thomas Franke. He will discuss the results with you personally in a short time.
How high is the radiation exposure of an examination with DVT?
DVT is currently the most modern and gentle examination method in this field. Similar to the computer tomogram (CT), DVT provides three-dimensional images of body areas. A special X-ray machine with a high-performance computer is used for this. While the CT scans the examined region in layers, the DVT captures the entire region in a single pass. Due to this process alone, the DVT has a radiation dose that is up to 80 % lower than a CT.
In addition, the X-ray unit in DVT can also scan areas of different sizes depending on the requirements, which further reduces the radiation exposure.