Making the Case for 3D Imaging: Implant Practice

by Dr. Darrell Bourg

After being involved in a four wheeler accident, a 25-year-old male came into my implant dentistry practice complaining of pain in the upper left side of his mouth. Initially, I captured a 2D periapical image, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Because of this, I decided to take a CBCT scan to get the bigger picture.

3D Image 1

The CBCT scan revealed a fracture of the #9 tooth that was clear as day; however, an impacted canine was superimposed over the fracture in the 2D radiograph. Without the use of 3D imaging, I may have diagnosed the patient with a necrotic tooth caused by the trauma of the accident, only to have discovered the actual problem in the root canal.


Every day, I have cases where the two-dimensional images aren’t able to give me the whole picture. Superimposed images can make it much more difficult to get to the root of the underlying pathology. Having CBCT available within the office allows us to look at the case in a three-dimensional view and get the true picture of what is going on.

I use CBCT for every single implant surgery I perform. From taking a pre-op scan for planning purposes to using the scan as a guide during the procedure, 3D imaging helps the way I practice. I also take a scan after the surgery so I can evaluate the results—allowing me to become a better clinician as a result.

CBCT is also an asset when it comes to patient communication. When I am able to sit down with patients and show them the three-dimensional image of their particular case and their own mouth, they are awed by it. And, because I am able to clearly explain the problem, my case acceptance has gone up as a result.

About Darrell Bourg, DDS
Dr. Bourg received his dental training at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry and is a graduate of Georgia’s Comprehensive Training Program in Implant Dentistry. He has received advanced training at the Implant Learning Center in Chicago, the California Implant Institute in San Diego, the Sclar Center in Miami, and with Dr. Samuel Lee at the University of San Salvador.

Dr. Bourg is the 2013 President of the New Orleans Dental Association, and is a member of the Louisiana Dental Association, American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also a Fellow of the International College of Oral Implantologists.

Carestream Dental Blog Administrator Contributor