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    Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)


    What is Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)?

    Dental cone beam computed tomography devices are special dental X-ray machines used when traditional X-rays are not sufficient. Non-invasive, painless, and accurate, CBCT scans create a 3D image of the teeth, bone, and soft tissues. Three-dimensional images allow for a far greater understanding of any issues a patient may have, as it discovers what is not visible in a panoramic X-ray. They are especially great for patients with a sensitive gag reflex or a small mouth, as it makes capturing dental images simple and quick. CBCT provides valuable information, so we can better prepare superior patient care plans.

    How is digital CT scans better than traditional dental X-rays?

    Traditional dental X-rays only provide two-dimensional images, while dental cone beam computed tomography scans provide 3D images. This allows us to evaluate the state of your oral health more accurately. Additionally, CBCT scans are quicker to use, more accurate, and safer.

    What is the CBCT scan procedure like?

    Cone beam CT scan machines have a motorized arm that rotates 360-degrees around your head during the scan. As it revolves, it’s capturing multiple images using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. The results provide a single 3D image that accurately depicts every angle of your mouth. Patients feel no discomfort, and the entire procedure lasts only a minute or two.

    Who needs a dental CBCT scan?

    We recommend digital dental X-rays for new patients, as they provide us with a baseline we will use to compare with your ongoing dental health. CT exams are helpful for our patients who are experiencing pain or discomfort in which traditional intraoral exams do not reveal the underlying cause. CT scans not only reveal images from within your mouth, but of your jaw, neck, throat, nose, and ears.

    What do these dental X-rays reveal?

    Dental cone beam computed tomography X-rays can provide images of bone, soft tissue, dental structures, and roots, allowing us to accurately diagnose a patient’s dental problem. The image quality is much higher than with traditional dental X-ray devices. They’re especially accurate when diagnosing the need for root canals, removing impacted teeth, placing dental implants, identifying soft tissue sarcoma, cleft palates, dental trauma, and common orthodontic evaluation. Because they also capture 3D images of the ears, nose, and throat, they can help us diagnose any ENT issues you may have.

    Are dental cone beam CT scans safe?

    As with other CT scans used in medical imaging, there is a small amount of radiation exposure that occurs during the scan. There is a significantly smaller dose of radiation with digital cone beam CT machines compared to traditional dental scans. Experts have equated it to the same amount of radiation exposure travelers experience on a five-hour flight. Most patients will rarely need dental X-rays, so we consider the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the risks of radiation exposure.

    If you’re interested in learning more about our use of dental cone beam computed tomography, call us at 614-452-5886 or submit a question through the contact form.