All You Need to Know About Cone Beam CT Scans

Are you planning to see your dentist for a dental implants procedure? Make sure you are prepared for a Dental CBCT (Cone Bone Computed Tomography) Scan. The terminology and technology both sound complex, but there actually is nothing complicated about it. In today’s post, we’ll share with you comprehensive information about Cone Beam CT Scans and teach you all you need to know about them. By the end, you will be well-aware of what to expect and how it works.

Understanding Dental CBCT Scan

A dental CBCT scan is not a routine procedure. It is only requested by dentists when regular facial or dental x-rays are not sufficient enough to decide which treatment would be suitable for the patient. The CBCT is an imagining technology that ingeniously combines multiple x-ray measurements into a virtual slice of the object, providing the dentist clarity to see within the teeth and gums without invasive treatment or cuts.

CBCT technology is being optimized in various fields in the arena of dentistry, such as:

  • Orthodontics
  • Oral surgery
  • Endodontics

It is a unique X-ray technology offering a high resolution of two dimensional and three-dimensional examinations. The technology empowers dentists to evaluate and assess:

  • The underlying bone structure of the patient
  • Nerve pathways
  • Soft tissues in the surrounding

How Does It Work?

When the patient undergoes a dental Cone Beam CT scan, the 3D dental imaging machine uses a rotating gantry or a C-arm. This is attached to the source of the X-ray and detector.

The imagining machine rotates around the head of the patient, entirely. The ionizing radiation is cone-shaped and gently directed through the area being examined. In less than one minute, approximately 150 to 200 images are captured from multiple angles. These images are later compiled into a single three-dimensional image. An x-ray beam in the shape of a cone is moved around the patient

How is It Different From Conventional CT Scans?

When compared to conventional CT Scans, a dental CBCT scan is quite different. Unlike conventional scans, CBCT and the cone-shaped beam produce high-quality images of the mouth. The detailed images of the inside of the mouth include the bone and tissue structures like lymph nodes, nerves, glands and muscles. All this makes it easier for the dentist to assess the patient’s potential response to dental implants or other specialty procedures.

Put simply, dental CBCT scans provide highly accurate and underlying images that you can’t get from a standard X-ray machine or dental examination.

Apart from this, another advantage of CBCT scan is that, unlike conventional CT scans, the radiation exposure of this procedure is very low. As such, this means it is safe to use.

What Does the CBCT Scan Technology Look Like?

These are scanners featuring square-shaped machines with a moveable table or an upright chair for sitting. Hence, patients can get their mouth scans while sitting or lying down on the table during an examination.

Please note that CBCT scanners that feature a chair have a rotating C-arm, which is an image intensifier containing the detector and x-ray source. On the other hand, CT machines that include tables feature rotating gantry.

What Conditions Can a Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography Scan Help Diagnose?

Apart from treatment planning and placement of dental implants, a Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography Scan is useful in various procedures. These include:

  • Surgical planning for impacted teeth
  • Diagnosing irregularities of the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
  • Jaw Tumor detection, measurement and treatment
  • Locating the origin of the pathology
  • Diagnosing bone loss, facial fractures, abnormal growths and periodontal infections
  • Evaluation of the jaw, nerve canals, nasal cavity and sinuses
  • Analysis of cephalometric
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Determining tooth orientation and bone structure

A CBCT scan shows all nerves, soft tissues and bones in extreme detail. It allows your dentist to establish their approach carefully and accurately before moving forward. Additionally, they can identify possible complications ahead of time and hence take the necessary steps to minimize serious complications.

Dental CBCT Risks

Although very low, dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography cause some level of radiation. However, as the procedure has some radiation exposure, it is not recommended for pregnant women. Moreover, it should also be used cautiously when performing pre-orthodontic scans and evaluation of children.

Is the Procedure Painful?

No. The procedure is simple, quick and pain-free. Patients undergoing dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography scans experience no pain. Rest assured that you can return to your day-to-day activities once the examination is complete.

Who is Responsible for Interpreting the Results?

The images collected through Cone Beam CT Scans can be interpreted by the dentist as well as your oral surgeon and radiologist. The results are communicated to the patient promptly.

Top Benefits of Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography Scans

The ongoing popularity of the dental CBCT procedure is much owed to its plethora of benefits. These include:

  • Focused beam lowers scattered radiation, which helps get high quality and accurate images.
  • A single, quick and straightforward scan that has the potential to produce various views and angles. This further helps whoever is analyzing the images to provide a clear and comprehensive evaluation.
  • Cone-beam Computed Tomography scans provide more detailed information than conventional x-ray machines. Clear and detailed information means it allows for a more precise and timely treatment plan.
  • CBCT scan is painless, precise and non-invasive
  • It can take images of the bone structure and soft tissue at the same time.
  • No radiation after the CT scan remains in the body of the patient.

Now that you have a solid understanding of the Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography Scan and how it works, you can undergo the examination confidently without any reservations. Nonetheless, if you still have questions in mind or need more information, it is advisable to discuss the CT scan with your dentist. The dental CBCT scan is a proven method that has benefitted numerous patients already.