Cone Beam Computed Tomography
Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) creates clear imaging in 3 dimensions (3D) of the underlying bone structure, nerve pathways, and soft tissues. It is also referred to as “3D dental X-rays.” This benefits both the patient and dentist. CBCT scans require far less radiation than other CT scans and are an important part of the dental examination process.
Additional benefits include:
- Improved experience with the ability to clearly see what your dentist can see
- Faster scans
- Less radiation exposure than other types of CT scans
- Improved diagnostic ability by enabling clinicians to see more of your oral cavity
- More precise reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry planning
2D vs. 3D Image
Saving Lives, One Scan at a Time
CBCT can save lives in early detection of possible oral health concerns linked to systemic conditions such as heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. With CBCT, you can work with your dentist to see the condition of your mouth and understand the diagnosis plus recommended plan of treatment to take care of both oral and whole-body health.
CBCT may be suggested by your dentist if you’ve had major dental work and after looking at your dental history. Other considerations for treatment include:
- Surgical planning
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) diagnoses
- Accurate placement of dental implants
- Evaluation of jaw, sinuses, nerve canals and nasal cavity
- Determining bone structure and tooth orientation
- Reconstructive surgery
- Detecting and treating jaw tumors
After a thorough exam of your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, your dentist will discuss treatment options with you and answer your questions. If the agreed-upon treatment plan includes a CBCT scan, you will experience the following:
- Preparing for a cone beam CT scan is quite easy. You’ll be asked to remove any glasses, hearing aids, jewelry, and metal hair accessories, so you may want to plan accordingly. It’s also best to wear comfortable clothing and shoes if setting up the machine takes a few minutes.
- Depending on the exact type of scanner being used, you will either be asked to stand or sit in the exam chair. The clinician will place an apron over your shoulders and chest, and position you so the area they wish to scan is centered in the beam.
- The clinician may ask you to grasp the machine’s handles, so you stay in the same place and remain comfortable. With your dental CBCT scan, you don’t need to bite down on an uncomfortable piece of hard plastic, which is beneficial for many clients, especially pediatric patients.
- During the scan, the imaging machine will rotate entirely around your head, but at no point will your head be enclosed.
- The initial setup may take several minutes, but for a full mouth X-ray, the actual CBCT scan examination takes only between 20 to 40 seconds to complete. A regional scan focusing on one area takes less than 10 seconds on average. The machine is relatively quiet while in use.
- In a matter of minutes, the machine captures multiple images from different angles that are recreated into a single 3D image.