Your dentist will take x-rays of your jaw, paying special attention to the area which will be treated. A general review of these x-rays will allow the dentist to carefully inspect for any additional teeth or areas in the bone that require treatment (whether for implants or otherwise). Sometimes a panoramic radiography is necessary. It will show all of the upper and lower jaws' bones and teeth, to diagnose other dental and bone pathology. These can also be used to assess the height of available bone and the relation and position of other anatomic structures - all considered as part of the overall analysis for implants.
The most accurate form of x-ray imaging currently available is the CT scan, commonly known as a CAT scan. Medical CT scanners are often used by dentists to diagnose, analyze and devise treatment plans for implant surgery so you may be referred to a radiologist during the diagnosis process.
Because all radiation dosages are cumulative, and the potentially harmful effects of excessive radiation are well documented, the benefits of improved diagnostic imaging must be weighed against the risks of radiation exposure for your particular needs and circumstances.
Other diagnostic studies are required to properly proceed with implant treatment. A full periodontal examination is required to determine if gum disease is present and, if so, devise an effective treatment plan. A complete tooth-by-tooth examination is also necessary to identify and properly treat any active cavities or other dental pathology.
What is a dental implant?
How are dental implants placed?
What is osseointegration?
Benefits of dental implants.
Healing and treatment care.
Are dental implants right for me?
How to care for my new implants?