Dental cone beam computed tomography (CT) is a special type of x-ray equipment used when regular dental or facial x-rays are not sufficient and more detailed scans are needed.

What is Dental Cone Beam CT?

This type of CT scanner uses a special type of technology to generate three dimensional (3-D) images of dental structures, soft tissues, nerve paths and bone in the craniofacial region in a single scan. Images obtained with cone beam CT allow for more precise treatment planning.

Why May I Need a Dental Cone Beam CT Scan?

Dental cone beam CT is commonly used for treatment planning of orthodontic issues. It is also useful for more complex cases that involve:

  • surgical planning for impacted teeth.
  • diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
  • accurate placement of dental implants.
  • evaluation of the jaw, sinuses, nerve canals and nasal cavity.
  • detecting, measuring and treating jaw tumors.
  • determining bone structure and tooth orientation.
  • locating the origin of pain or pathology.
  • The analysis of the dental and skeletal relationships of the human skull.
  • reconstructive surgery.

How Should I Prepare for a Scan?

A cone beam CT examination requires no special preparation.

Prior to the examination, you may be asked to remove anything that may interfere with the imaging, including metal objects, such as jewelry, eyeglasses, hairpins and hearing aids. Although removable dental work may have to be removed, it is best to bring these along to your examination, since your dentist or oral surgeon may need to examine them as well.

Women should inform their dentist or oral surgeon if they think there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

What Can I Expect During the Scan?

You'll be asked to sit down in the test chair or lie back on the exam table, based on the sort of cone beam CT scanner used. We will place you to ensure that the field of attention is centered at the beam. You'll be asked to remain very still while the x-ray source and sensor revolve around you to get a 360-degree rotation or less. This generally may take between 20 to 40 minutes for a comprehensive scan, also referred to as a complete mouth x ray, where the whole dental and mouth arrangements are imaged. It can take less than 10 minutes to get a regional scan which concentrates on a particular field of the upper of lower jaw bone.

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