How is Cone Beam Imaging Important to Dentistry?

image of tm jointCone Beam Imaging in Fresno, CA

Dental cone beam computing tomograghy (CT) is a form of x-ray that has provided better imaging for dental professionals to use in diagnosing and treating dental conditions. Because it can image bone and soft tissues in 3D rendering, it provides a greater level of detail than traditional x-ray imaging.

If you’ve been told a cone beam CT scan may benefit your dental situation, contact our Fresno CA office today and use our online tools to schedule an appointment.

Why is cone beam imaging a valuable tool?

When we first began using x-rays to diagnose dental conditions and see more clearly into the bone structure of our teeth and jaws, it was a revelation to dentists and patients. Instead of guessing and using our intuition to diagnose the causes of pain and dysfunction, suddenly we could see what was happening on the inside.

But traditional x-rays have their limitations. Specifically, they do not render detail in three dimensional images, so even though we can pinpoint the location of a problem, we cannot accurately measure and understand it fully. They also give little indication of what is going on with the muscles and other soft tissues of the face, and are essentially limited to imaging teeth and bone tissue with any level of detail.

Cone beam imaging is a ground-breaking tool in dentistry, because it gives a clearer, more accurate picture of what’s going on inside—which can make treatments more conservative, targeted, and effective.

Take the example of a root canal that has failed. In the past, we would know that a root canal endodontic procedure has failed if a patient continues to have sensitivity in the tooth. Somehow the infection was not cleared from every tooth canal, as roots have many tiny canals in which bacteria may linger once the inner portions of the tooth have been breached. In the past, we may have attempted a second root canal, but without better imaging, addressing the problem may be as hard the second time as it was the first. Often the tooth would have to be extracted to ensure the infection was removed.

But today, with cone beam imaging, we can in see greater detail what may be happening with such a tooth. With 3D imaging we may be able to pinpoint the source of the pain more accurately, and therefore treat the tooth more efficiently. In the case of a root canal, we would also be able to see whether the infection was also present in the soft tissues surrounding the tooth, since cone beam imaging renders soft tissues as well as hard.

You wouldn’t want to return to dentistry before there were x-rays to help us diagnose dental conditions. Likewise, we recognize cone beam imaging as a finer, more precise use of technology that lets us go a step or two beyond standard x-rays to allow us to provide more appropriate treatment.

Cone Beam Imaging

  • Helps us pinpoint the location of pain and sensitivity.
  • Provides us a better picture the jaw, sinuses, nasal cavity, and nerve canals.
  • Shows us more precisely how teeth and bones are aligned.
  • Helps us plan for extracting impacted teeth.
  • Allows us to see all the moving parts (joints, teeth, muscles, tendons, etc.) when diagnosing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
  • Lets us plan the best placement for dental implants and other reconstructive procedures.
  • Provides greater clarity when detecting, measuring and treating jaw tumors.
  • Allows us to plan more conservative orthodontic treatments.

How does cone beam imaging work?

Traditional x-rays scan from only one angle at a time, but cone beam computing tomography uses a rotating arm to scan all the way around your head, and gather 3D images. Rather than using x-ray film, it uses digital technology to render images almost immediately. Images can be viewed at different angles and at increased magnification for better detail.

The results of this imaging tool are very similar to those of CAT scans, but use less radiation, which is a good thing, as all radiographic imaging involves some radiation risk.

If you’ve been told a cone beam CT scan may benefit your dental situation, contact our Fresno CA office today and use our online tools to schedule an appointment. If you have trouble using our automatic booking services, call 559-297-6823 for assistance.

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