Cone Beam CT Scan

Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanning takes traditional dental imaging to next level, or more precisely, the next dimension. CBCT technology is a 3-D x-ray that gives dentists the ability to view the structures of your mouth, face & head from nearly infinite perspectives & in amazingly fine detail. Whether you’re just starting treatment or evaluating the results of a procedure, getting a scan with a cone beam machine can be a very valuable tool in your dental health.

The name “cone beam” comes from the precise cone shape of the invisible x-ray beam that the scanner emits. By sending out the beam at different angles, the machine forms a 3-D image of your head. Unlike traditional x-rays, the cone beam scanner can create a 2-D or a 3-D image, & includes scans of your tissues in addition to bones & teeth. The dentist can zoom in on the scan, rotate it and view it at any angle, and even look through scans at different depths. We can visualize your teeth, roots, gums, bones, nerves, & airways & how all of these structures relate to each other.

The large variety in the types of images a cone-beam scan can create means that it can apply to many different treatments & diagnoses. CBCT has applications in endodontics (root canals), oral surgery, orthodontics, prosthodontics, sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, & more. The resulting 3-D scans can be used to plan surgeries such as wisdom tooth extractions, to plan the placement of dental implants with extreme accuracy, to assess problems with the jaw joint & to plan braces.

Getting a CBCT scan is completely painless, takes only a few minutes total & requires no preparation beforehand. The scanner is mounted on an arm that rotates around your head while you sit or stand under it. You will be asked to place your chin on a special platform & the entire scanner can be raised or lowered to a height that’s comfortable for you. Your only task during the scanning process, which lasts about 10-seconds, is to hold as still as possible.

CBCT doesn’t require you to bite down on a sensor like bite-wing x-rays, but you may be asked to bite down on a small disposable tab to help ensure alignment. To get an accurate image, your face has to be centered & the “bite plane” of your mouth should be parallel to the floor. A brace or strap may be used to keep your head still. The team member carrying out the scan will ensure you’re positioned properly before performing the scan.

Dental cone beam CT machines emit less radiation than traditional CT scans & traditional film x-rays, so your exposure is brief & minimal. You can be draped with a lead vest if desired. Pregnant women should inform the dentist of their situation before getting a cone beam scan.

CBCT scanners create an instantaneous digital image, meaning there’s no waiting for film to develop. The fact that the images are digital also makes it very easy to share your scans with any specialists who may be involved in your care in addition to your dentist, such as an orthodontist or a prosthodontist. We’re proud to offer this advanced technology because it allows us to provide every patient with more accurate, efficient & successful dental care.

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