CBCT is a faster, safer and more advanced form of the regular computed tomography (CT) scan. At our dental clinic – All About Smiles in San Antonio, TX; it helps us get a clear image of the interior of your mouth and jaw, so we can pinpoint any issues affecting your oral health.
CBCT technology generates sophisticated 3-D scans of dental structure, nerve paths, bones and soft tissues. The cone beam allows for more detailed, high quality images which, in turn, allow for better diagnosis and treatment.
What is CBCT?
A CT scan delivers clear and digitized images of bones, tissues and nerves, using specialized X-ray equipment connected to a digital computer, to produce detailed, cross-sectional scans of the body’s interior structure. The procedure is also known as computerized axial tomography (CAT).
A CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) is an advancement of the CT scan, used where traditional X-rays produce insufficient or inconclusive results. In dentistry, CBCT takes detailed images of your oral framework, which are used for treating disorders in the jaw and bony structure of your face.
How does CBCT Work?
- The procedure uses a specialized scanning machine that projects rotating, cone-shaped beams around your head. The machine can take up to 600 clear images, also known as “views”.
- Depending on the type of cone beam scanner being used, you may be asked to sit upright or to lie down, in such a way that the affected area falls in the center of the beam.
- The beam then revolves around you in a 360-degree rotation, taking up to 20-40 seconds for a full dental X-ray and 10 seconds or less for a local area scan.
- When you’re scheduled for a CBCT scan, you will be asked to remove all wearables or accessories that may interfere with digital imaging. These include items like eyeglasses, jewelry and hearing aids.
- You may also be asked to take out any removable dental devices, but it’s better if you bring these with you to be examined by us. We can check if they’re in good working condition and let you know if they might affect your future dental treatments.
Advantages of CBCT Imaging
- The overall procedure, from registration to scanning to scan verification, shouldn’t take more than an hour.
- CBCT scanning itself is very quick, typically taking just 10-70 seconds to complete!
- The images produced under dental CBCT are similar to CT scans, but with the additional advantage of better quality, clarity and precision.
- It helps us with surgical planning for the correction of impacted teeth, so we can ensure that your treatment is perfectly customized.
- It also helps in determining tooth orientation and bone structure, and can be useful in the diagnosis and treatment of jaw tumors.
- The machine emits far less radiation than the traditional CT scanner. In fact, the exposure is up to 15 times lower!
Risks of CBCT Imaging
- As with diagnostic scans, there is always a risk of overexposure to radiation, which has been linked to cancer.
- The procedure may be unsuitable for pregnant women, as the rays could potentially harm the unborn baby.
- Children are more at risk from radiation than adults, so the CBCT scan should be performed only when considered absolutely necessary.
In cases where additional dental scans are required, we may take CBCT images. It isn’t used on a routine basis since it emits higher radiation levels than regular dental X-rays (but less than CT scans).
Dental complaints are often rooted in deeper problems that don’t show up on the surface. After a CBCT scan lets us know where the trouble is, it’s much easier to begin the right treatment for it!