This CT scan provides more detailed information than a typical dental X-ray.
When you have a complex dental issue, your dentist needs to have a clear understanding of how to treat you, and sometimes a traditional 2D X-ray doesn’t provide enough information. Cone beam CT (CBCT) scans create a 3D X-ray image that shows both the bones and soft tissues in your mouth and face. This allows your dentist to evaluate your dental structures, soft tissues, nerve paths, and facial bones with a single scan.
When Do You Need a CBCT Scan?
Your dentist may order a CBCT scan when regular dental and facial X-rays will not suffice. Typically, CBCT scans are helpful with planning for surgery to remove impacted teeth, planning for dental implants, finding the origin of pain and diagnosing the issue, identifying issues with the jaw, and other complex situations.
How Does It Work?
During a CBCT scan, you will either sit in a chair or lie back on an exam table to remain still throughout the procedure. The imaging machine will rotate around your head to quickly capture over 150 images from various angles, forming a single 3D image. A full scan of your mouth takes less than a minute to complete, and the process is even faster if your dentist only needs to look at a specific region of your mouth.
What Are the Benefits of CBCT Scans?
High-Quality Images. Because CBCT scanners use a focused X-ray beam, they can pinpoint the area your dentist needs to see and get a better quality image.
Precise Planning. The wide variety of angles and the variety of tissues that show up on these scans allows your dentist to get a complete look at your mouth. This helps them get a more accurate diagnosis to precisely tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs.
Reduced Radiation. Compared to conventional CT scans, CBCT scans expose you to lower amounts of radiation. There should be no immediate side effects from CBCT scanning, and no radiation remains in the patient’s body after a CBCT scan. Furthermore, the FDA states that the benefits of CT scans far outweigh potential risks.