Dental MRI

If you couldn’t tell from my last post on SWIFT MRI.  I am a huge fan of new and upcoming technology in dental imaging.  The latest paper I found discusses creating an occlusal coil that patients bite into to visualize teeth.  Here is the kicker… it works.  It is not amazing, but I do believe that with more research and more tweaking we might finally be on the brink of radiation free imaging.

A couple of notes:

  1. The article states that the teeth and roots are the only interesting structures to look at.  As a practicing GP and a radiologist, I think this statement is absolutely incorrect.  If you have the advantage of a radiation free system, I believe that grabbing the entire maxillofacial complex is necessary.  Anyone who has knowledge of TMJs, orthodontics, prosthodontics and so forth knows the importance of this.  If you want to do nothing more than fillings and ONLY fillings then this statement might be true.  For the 99% of practitioners out there who understand that there is more to the mouth than just teeth, I believe you will disagree with such a ridiculous notion.
  2. Remember that so far all of these are simply “proof of concept”.  This particular paper uses a 4T magnet.  That is a very high powered magnet and impractical to use in a dental office.  If enough research (and money) goes into this that they can bring down the size and the strength while increasing the FOV and resolution at the same time… I think you will finally see radiographs start getting replaced.

Here is an image from a live patient.  This is a slice.  Notice two things:  First, no contact overlap due to the method the image is acquired.  Second, decay is light instead of dark and its extend is much more easily estimated.  Look at #15 occlusal as an example.


Source: Intraoral Approach for Imaging Teeth Using the Transverse B1 Field Components of an Occlusally Oriented Loop Coil by Djaudat Idiyatullin.  Worth a read.