A Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) is a unique X-ray procedure that can be used to produce three dimensional (3-D) images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and bone in a single scan. It may be used when a standard dental X-ray is insufficient for providing your dentist with the necessary information for making a precise treatment plan. A Dental Cone Beam CT can be used to produce images similar to those produced by conventional CT imaging.
How does the procedure work?
Your dentist or oral surgeon will ask you to sit in the exam chair or lie down on the exam table and will position you so that the area of interest is centered. You will be asked to stay very still during the examination, which typically takes between 20 and 40 seconds. If you’re just having a regional scan focused on a specific area, then it may take as little as 10 seconds.
An x-ray beam in the shape of a cone is moved around the patient in a complete 360-degree movement while a detector is mounted on the opposite side of the C-arm or gantry and rotates in unison. This results in around 150 to 200 high-quality images or “views” that are reconstructed to create a 3D image.
Preparing for a Dental Cone Beam CT examination
A Dental Cone Beam CT examination requires no special preparation, although you should inform your dentist if you are pregnant. It’s recommended that you wear comfortable clothing and remove any metal objects, such as jewelry, hairpins, glasses and hearing aids that may interfere with the imaging machine. Bring any removable dental work with you as it may need to be examined by your dentist.
You will not experience any pain or discomfort during the examination and can continue normal activities immediately after.
Once the images are received by your dentist, they will analyze them and communicate the results to you.
Common uses of Dental Cone Beam CT
Aside from treatment planning for orthodontic issues, Dental Cone Beam CT may be used for more complex cases that include:
- reconstructive surgery
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) diagnosis
- Surgical planning for impacted teeth
- Accurate placement of dental implants
- Jaw, sinus, nerve canal and nasal cavity evaluation
- Locating the origin of pain or pathology
- Detecting, measuring and treating jaw tumors
- Determining bone structure and tooth orientation
- Cephalometric analysis
The benefits of Dental Cone Beam CT:
- A single scan results in a wide variety of views and angles, which can be used to provide a more complete evaluation compared to a conventional dental X-ray for precise treatment planning.
- The use of a focused x-ray beam reduces scatter radiation and results in improved image quality.
- It’s accurate, painless, and non-invasive, with no immediate side effects.
- A Dental Cone Beam CT can take images of a patient’s bone and soft tissue at the same time.
- Radiation does not remain in a patient’s body after an examination.
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