Dental cone beam computed tomography (Dental CBCT) is a special type of x-ray machine used in situations where regular dental or facial x-rays are not sufficient. It is not used routinely because the radiation exposure from this scanner is significantly more than regular dental x-rays. 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.
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 and CBCT scans both produce high-quality images.
Dental CBCT 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.
CBCT 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, CBCT has the advantage of lower radiation exposure compared to conventional CT.
Although we do not have this machine at our office but we use a local imaging clinic to have this 3-D Scan taken and the scan is read and diagnosed by a qualified Oral Maxillofacial Radiologist.