How Dental Conebeam CT's are Improving Dental Care

Dental X-ray technology has come a long way since its introduction. X-rays of patients' teeth have become an invaluable diagnostic tool for dentists, and now, they can see more than ever thanks to dental cone beam CTs.

What is a Dental Cone Beam CT?

Dental cone beam computed tomography (CT) is specialized X-ray equipment used to produce 3-D images of teeth, soft tissue, nerve pathways and jaw bones all in one scan. During a cone beam CT, a cone-shaped X-ray machine is moved around the dental patient to take several scans and images that will combine into a cohesive, 3-D image. Cone beam CTs are used to provide highly detailed images that help a dentist diagnose and evaluate diseases and conditions of the jaw bone, teeth, gums and dental nerves such as:

  • Impacted teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Jaw tumors
  • Dental implant placement
  • Locating the origin of oral pain
  • Cephalometric analysis

How Should I Prepare for My Scan?

There are no special preparations to make for a cone beam CT. However, the patient will likely be asked to remove their jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses and hearing aids to keep the metal from interfering with the scan. Women undergoing a cone beam CT should inform their dentist or oral surgeon if they are, or could be, pregnant. Cone beam CTs emit radiation, as do all X-rays.

How is the Procedure Performed?

The patient will sit in an exam chair or lie on an exam table. The dentist will center the equipment on the affected area and ensure alignment. The X-ray source and detector attached to the cone beam CT equipment will rotate around the patient 360 degrees. The whole procedure typically takes less than a minute. No pain is caused by the scan, and the patient can return to their normal activities as soon as the scan is complete.

What Are the Benefits?

A cone beam CT gives a dentist more detailed information than an X-ray can. This higher attention to detail allows them to make more accurate diagnoses of conditions, place implants more comfortably, and pinpoint problems before they escalate and cause a patient pain.

For more information about cone beam CTs and their benefits, contact Great Lakes Dental.