Surgical procedures and other medical treatments are complex and require immense skill on the part of the treating physician. Adequate visualization of the area of the body being treated is critical; without it, the rate of complications is significantly higher. However, many areas of the body are difficult to see, particularly in the oral cavity. Image guidance is a newer technology in the field of dentistry that allows dental health professionals to visualize different areas of the mouth before and during the procedure. In the past, implants were typically done only using x-ray technology, which left more room for error. Image guidance is now the preferred method for placing dental implants. CBCT images are obtained and CAD technology is used to “place” the implants virtually in a highly accurate, computerized surgical guide. Image guidance has eliminated the need for a flap in a large number of implant surgeries, reducing the risk of potential complications.
Image stitching, also called photo stitching, is the process of merging multiple photographs together to create a single high resolution or panoramic image. Image stitching is most often done via computer using specific software designed to sense areas of overlap and combine them. The overlaps need to be as exact as possible and the exposures identical to elicit a final image with no visible seams. Because the illumination in two separate images could differ, even if the images are taken in quick succession, image stitching could result in seams between the images. Depending on the application, these seams may or may not be significant. In the field of dentistry, photo stitching is often used for x-rays and CAD/CAM images. This is because it’s not possible to organically capture an image of the entire mouth in one sitting; instead, multiple images from different angles must be obtained and fused together.