If you’ve kept up with regular dental appointments through adulthood, you have probably had your teeth X-rayed a few times. A dental cone beam CT (computed tomography) scan is a modern and more advanced form of X-ray imaging. While an X-ray produces two-dimensional images of your teeth, these are only useful to a certain point. A dental cone beam CT scan allows your dentist to take a precise 3D image of the inside of your oral cavity and sinuses. This allows added precision and efficiency when it comes to certain modern dental techniques.
Dental Cone Beam CT Scan in Murrieta, CA
The dental cone beam CT scan is not used routinely, because it uses more radiation than a tradition X-ray scan. The advantage of the dental cone beam CT scan is that it can be used in situations where an X-ray is just not sufficient enough. The CT scanner produces 3D images of dental structures, soft tissues, the sinus cavities, nerve pathways, bones and other structures — and it does all of this in a single scan.
You’ve probably seen a conventional CT scanner on TV, where a patient’s entire body is inserted into a big tube. The dental cone beam CT scanner is a much smaller piece of similar technology. The CT beam comes out in a cone shape that is rotated around the patient’s head while they are seated. This allows extremely precise, detailed imaging to take place in an outpatient setting. It also uses a lower radiation dose than a traditional CT scan.
Uses of Dental Cone Beam CT Scan
Our office uses the dental cone beam CT scan to get a more precise set of images prior to certain dental procedures. It allows us to get a better look at available jawbone structures for performing a bone graft procedure. The dental cone beam CT scan also allows us to install dental implants using great precision, to minimize the chance of discomfort of misplacement. In some cases, patients will need a sinus lift procedure performed before the structures in the upper mouth are ready to receive dental implants. The cone beam CT scan lets the dentist get a good look at the interior of the sinuses before performing the operation.
There are many additional uses for a dental cone beam CT scan, but those are the most common situations where our office uses it.
Benefits of Dental Cone Beam CT Scan
- Much better image quality than traditional X-rays
- Multiple images and angles possible from a single scan
- More information provided than in a traditional X-ray
- Painless, non-invasive, and extremely accurate
- Bone and soft tissue imaging are both possible in a single scan
- No radiation remains in the body after a dental cone beam CT scan
It should be noted that patients should remove all jewelry before a dental cone beam CT scan. For female patients, let your dentist know ahead of time if there is a possibility that you might be pregnant. Children are more sensitive to radiation, so the dental cone beam CT scan will not be recommended for them unless it is absolutely necessary for a diagnosis; in these cases, a low radiation dose technique will be used.