Dental Cone Beam CT

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. We use this technology to produce three-dimensional (3-D) images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and bone in a single scan.

This procedure requires little to no special preparation. Please let us know if there’s a possibility you are pregnant. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home. You may be asked to wear a gown.
Below are some commonly asked questions to guide our patients!

What is Dental Cone Beam CT?

Dental cone beam computed tomography (CT) is a special type of x-ray machine used in situations where regular dental or facial x-rays are not sufficient. This technology is not used routinely because the radiation exposure from this scanner is significantly higher than regular dental x-rays. The CT scanner uses a special type of technology to create 3D images of dental structures, soft tissues, nerve paths and bone in the craniofacial region in one scan. We are able to provide more precise treatment planning with Images obtained with cone beam CT.

What to wear: comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
What not to wear: metal objects, including jewelry, hearing aids, removable dental work, removable piercings, bras containing metal underwire, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins, etc. Please leave them at home or remove them prior to the scan.

Cone beam CT is not the same as a conventional CT. Dental cone beam CT can be used to produce images that are similar to those produced by conventional CT imaging.

With cone beam CT, an x-ray beam in the shape of a cone is moved around the patient to produce a large number of images, also called views. CT scans and cone beam CT both produce high-quality images.
Dental cone beam CT was developed as a means of producing similar types of images but with a much smaller and less expensive machine that could be placed in an outpatient office.

Cone beam CT provides detailed images of the bone and is performed to evaluate diseases of the jaw, dentition, bony structures of the face, nasal cavity and sinuses. It does not provide the full diagnostic information available with conventional CT, particularly in evaluation of soft tissue structures such as muscles, lymph nodes, glands and nerves. However, cone beam CT has the advantage of lower radiation exposure compared to conventional CT.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

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.
  • cephalometric analysis.
  • reconstructive surgery.