Dental technology is always moving forward, coming out with new, safer ways to provide the best services for patients. The latest in dental x-ray technology is the Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), shown in the video below.
The CBCT scan works by emitting a cone-beam shaped x-ray beam while rotating around the patient’s head. It is used by our doctors to capture a fast, non-invasive three dimensional (3-D) image of the person’s teeth, jaw, mouth, and neck; thereby creating virtually limitless views of the face and teeth for more complete treatment planning. This simple and completely painless technique quickly provides the Drs. Emery with computer-generated 3-D views of the bones of the lower face and teeth. While this technology is generally not utilized in routine treatment, the more detailed information enhances the dentists’ ability to diagnose and treat more difficult dental problems.
Dental Uses of Cone Beam CT
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The Cone-Beam CT has been used to determine the exact location and extent of jaw pathologies, such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (or TMD). It can also locate the exact position of teeth, including supernumerary or extra teeth, assessing them for their position around vital structures. The CBCT has also been quite useful in assessing pre- and post-bone graft and patients.
Endodontics/Root Canal Therapy
The Cone-Beam CT can also aid our dentists in identifying possible abscessed teeth, going as far as to help them measure the extent of the lesion, the number of canals in a tooth, the shape of the canals, and to be able to explore other, non-invasive treatments.
Being able to measure the appropriate amount of bone present is imperative for implant dentistry. The 3-D x-ray image allows for more precise measurements of the implant area as well as being able to visualize where vital structures are, enabling proper avoidance of these structures when placing the implant.
The Cone-Beam CT allows for our dentists to see the amount of bone present that is holding the teeth in place and measure the amount of bone loss, an advantage that was not possible with the 2-D image generated by traditional x-rays.
The CBCT has many more uses than the ones outlined here, including uses for orthodontics and forensic dentistry. Utilizing the Cone-Beam CT is quickly becoming the standard of care for the dental profession.