CBCT Scans: Why Does My Dentist Use Them?

Patient smiling to doctor who explains the x ray image.

Advancements in dentistry equipment help your dentist diagnose and treat your dental concerns more efficiently and for optimal results.

An endodontist might use a cone-beam computed tomography, CBCT, scanner to determine the best course of action for root canal therapy. An implant dentist would use a CBCT scanner to pinpoint the densest part of a patient’s jawbone for implant placement. CBCT scan’s imaging technology helps determine proper treatment for each patient and his or her case.

A dental CBCT scanner uses x-rays and a computer to generate three-dimensional, cross-sectional images of the teeth, gums, and jaw. The 3D image produced helps identify conditions that will affect healing by generating a detailed picture of the soft and hard tissues in a patient’s mouth.

Dr. Denes at Fresno Dental Scan offers CBCT scan services for patients to help treat an array of dental cases; call 559-297-6823 to schedule an appointment today.

History and Development of CBCT Scans

The Food and Drug Administration approved CBCT use in dentistry in the early 2000’s. The machine utilizes a cone shaped beam that rotates around a patient’s head to capture images of the teeth, jawbone, and surrounding structures. CBCT scans capture cross-sectional images that provide views of the soft tissue, bone, and blood vessels in the mouth, compared to limited traditional viewing.

Depending on why a patient needs an examination, the dentist might take multiple scans, but the entire procedure generally takes only a few minutes. The cone-shaped x-ray beam reduces time needed for scanning; usually, one full scan takes less than a minute. Compared to a regular scanner, the radiation exposure is drastically less.

What is Imaged from a CBCT Scan?

CBCT scans give dentists detailed information that cannot be obtained by conventional x-ray equipment.

The images from a CBCT scan include the pulp (inner) chamber and contents of the tooth and the curvature and length of the tooth canal. CBCT scans also reveal jawbone density for accurate implant placement.

Issues such as canal perforations and broken implants made available by CBCT scans help dentists correctly treat a patient’s pain or discomfort.

3D x-rays can also show hidden structural conditions in teeth and undiscovered infections, which could result in severe health issues.

How CBCT Scans Are Used

Treatment Planning

Accurate diagnoses and developing treatment plans depend on technology like the CBCT scan. Details from the CBCT scan can help foresee potential conditions or obstacles based on the tooth’s structures. CBCT scans help with:

  • Identifying conditions or level of diseases in the mouth
  • Evaluating trauma from injuries
  • Determining root canal therapy
  • Accurate dental implant placements
  • Analyzing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) characteristics for proper diagnosis or ruling out of TMJ disorder

Healing Process

Tooth or gum conditions that may affect the healing process can be identified through the views from a CBCT scan.

Identifying Issues

If patients continue to have problems or develop infections after root canal therapy or other procedures, the imagery from a CBCT scan could help determine the cause of why the tooth fails to heal correctly.

Sharing Capabilities

CBCT images can be shared with other health practitioners if necessary, reducing the need for patients to undergo additional scans. Collaboration between practitioners enables better care for the patient.

CBCT scanners provide valuable information to dentists and make up a critical, essential part of the treatment process. Call Dr. Denes at Fresno Dental Scan at 559-297-6823 to learn more today.

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