What You Need to Know About Dental CBCT Scans


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A CBCT scan is a 3D imaging technology that allows dentists to assess nerve pathways, soft tissues, and bone in the craniofacial region. It captures about 150-600 images from a variety of angles within seconds.

Compared to conventional x-rays, this technology can provide higher-quality, more underlying information about your mouth and jaw. This can help your dentist make accurate diagnoses, and plan out procedures more precisely.

How Do They Work?

Dental CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) scans are a type of computerized tomography that is used in dentistry. It produces highly detailed three-dimensional images of the teeth, bones and soft tissue that your dentist can use to diagnose, plan treatment and evaluate. Unlike regular X-rays, CBCT is safe and is becoming more popular among dental practitioners as it provides better results with less radiation exposure.

During a CBCT, a special scanner moves around your head while taking about 150 to 300 X-ray views in a short amount of time. The images are then reconstructed to create a virtual model of your teeth, jawbones and soft tissues. This allows your dentist to see the image in greater detail and better understand what is going on in your mouth, so that they can provide you with the most accurate diagnosis possible.

To prepare for a CBCT scan, you will need to be very still as the scanner revolves around your head. Your dentist or radiologist will likely put straps on you to help keep your head still, so that they can get the best picture of your teeth and jawbones.

You may also need to wear a special piece of plastic that will hold your teeth in place while the X-rays are being taken. This makes it easier for the scanner to take pictures without causing you any pain or discomfort.

After the scan is complete, your doctor will review it with you to find out what it means and how it can benefit you. Then, your doctor will recommend any necessary follow-up appointments.

The X-rays from a CBCT can be used to plan your dental implants or to examine the bone structure of your temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ. This can be important if you are experiencing any pain in your TMJ, or if you are having a problem with your jaw movement and alignment.

Using CBCT technology, dentists can see the entire bone structure of your teeth and jawbones in more detail than with other types of dental radiography. This allows your dentist to plan your treatment more effectively and achieve better results for procedures like dental implant placement.

How Long Does It Take?

CBCT scans are used to take 3D images of your teeth, jaws, and surrounding structures. They can show more detail than traditional X-rays, and they also help dentists develop treatment plans for your dental health.

They are a fast, painless way to get a detailed picture of your mouth’s structures. It only takes about 20 seconds to complete a full mouth scan, and less than 10 seconds for a regional scan that focuses on one area of your mouth.

You will be asked to lie down in front of a specialized machine that rotates around your head. This machine can take up to 600 different X-rays at various angles, which are digitally compiled into a 3-D image that your doctor can view. The process of obtaining the images is quick, and it is important that you are as still as possible during the procedure.

The CBCT machine uses a lower dose of radiation than traditional CT scanners, which is important for patients with medical conditions. Additionally, the CBCT procedure is safer for pregnant women.

A CBCT scan is usually performed by a radiologist or a specialized dentist who is specially trained to position the patient and operate the machine. Some CBCT machines can be operated by dental nurses or a dentist’s assistant, but these should be only used after completing a radiography course or other specialized training and education.

Because the CBCT scanner can take a large amount of images at different angles, it is very important that the patient remains still for the entire procedure. This is why it is often necessary to place a headband or chin rest on the patient during the procedure.

When the procedure is over, your hygienist will remove the machine from your mouth and take pictures of the images as well as of any other areas that require additional examination. This information will then be sent to your doctor, so that he can make the appropriate decisions about treatment.

CBCT scans are available at many dental clinics, hospitals, and medical imaging centers. Some of these locations are dedicated to providing dental imaging services, while others may provide other services as well. It is important to find out where the nearest location is, and to be sure that you are receiving the highest quality service.

What Are They Used For?

Unlike traditional dental x-rays, dental CBCT scans show the entire jaw in three-dimensional images. These scans are a great way for dentists to diagnose problems such as impacted teeth, tumors and cysts. They can also be used for implant planning and other surgical procedures that require accurate measurements of the jaw.

The scans are non-invasive, painless and accurate. They are a good alternative to X-rays for patients with sensitive gag reflexes or small mouths. CBCT scans provide much more detailed information than traditional X-rays, and allow the doctor to plan treatments with more accuracy.

They can also be used to help diagnose issues that traditional X-rays cannot detect, such as root canal complications and early resorption of the tooth’s root. This condition is typically missed by regular x-rays, and it can lead to serious tooth damage if not caught early.

In addition, a CBCT can help to assess the health of the bones in the jaw and neck. This can be useful in diagnosing conditions like TMJ disorders, sleep apnea and even tumors and cancers.

The scan can also provide the dentist with very accurate measurements of your jaw, which can be helpful for planning certain surgeries, including wisdom teeth extractions. The dentist can then use the measurements to design your treatment and make sure that the surgery will go well.

Another benefit of a CBCT scan is that it provides a much higher resolution than standard dental radiography. This is a great advantage for patients who may have undergone extensive treatments like a tooth root canal.

Lastly, CBCT scans can be used to identify and measure airway problems in the throat and jaw that aren’t visible on traditional x-rays. This allows your dentist to determine if you have any severe diseases, as well as to detect airway and jaw problems that can cause you to stop breathing while asleep.

While a CBCT scan is generally safe and does not expose you to as much radiation as a conventional CT exam, it’s still important for you to understand the risks of the procedure. It’s recommended that you speak with your dentist or oral surgeon about the amount of radiation exposure you’ll receive and how this can affect your health.

Are They Painless?

When you think of X-rays, you might associate them with pain. However, Dental CBCT Scans are not only fast and easy, but they also offer excellent 3D images of your mouth, nasal cavity, jaw, and sinuses that can help your dentist diagnose oral health issues and plan complex treatments.

During a CBCT scan, the imaging device gently revolves around your head and face. Your radiologist may offer you something to rest your head against to prevent you from moving, but otherwise, you won’t have to worry about feeling any pain.

The CBCT machine takes anywhere from 150 to 200 photos during the brief imaging procedure or scanning, and then merges them together to create a single, 3-D image. This is a much superior method to the outdated, fuzzily black-and-white photos that a typical X-ray uses, and it is often used for more than just diagnosis purposes.

It is also very useful in planning for dental implants. Since a CBCT scan shows your exact bone structure, it lets your implant dentist choose the best-fitting dental implant for you and ensures it will be secure in your mouth and last a long time.

Your CBCT can be done on a mobile dental clinic, so you don’t need to make an extra trip to the doctor’s office. The mobile dentistry clinic can come to your home, hospital, or other location and help you with an initial exam, X-rays, cleanings, fillings, or disease screenings.

Before getting a CBCT scan, you should remove any metal objects from your body. This includes eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, earrings, tongue studs, and necklaces.

Once you’ve got everything out of the way, your CBCT scan should only take about 20 seconds to complete. It’s usually a regional scan focusing on one area, but it can be more extensive depending on your particular needs.

Aside from being quick and easy, CBCT scans are also very safe. In fact, they use far less radiation than other CT scanners. According to a dosimetry study conducted by Dr. Ludlow, the amount of radiation used in a single CBCT scan is lower than the amount you would get from just 8 days of normal background exposure.


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