The best dentist offices in Missoula use the latest technology to improve patient results, gain better insights, increase patient comfort, and speed up procedures. The dental cone beam CT scanner is one of these technologies, and you might have already used it if you’ve visited our Missoula office. Learn how this dental technology enhances your care with Ponderosa dental!
What is a Dental Cone Beam CT Scanner?
The dental cone beam CT, short for computed tomography, is a special x-ray used when facial x-rays or basic dental x-rays are not adequate. The machine produces 3-D images of most tissue within your mouth, including teeth, nerve pathways, and bone — all in one 40 second scan! The resulting images allow for the most precise treatment plan. Dental cone beam CT scanners have been in use since the early 2000s.
When Do You Use a Dental Cone Beam CT Scanner?
The 3D cone beam CT scanner is incredibly diverse, but it’s a go-to technology when planning a surgical procedure. Since the dental cone beam CT scanner provides so much detail, it’s often used to investigate diseases of the jaw, teeth arrangement, nasal cavities, and sinuses.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration explains that cone beam scanners are used for dental applications, including “dental implant planning, visualization of abnormal teeth, evaluation of the jaws and face, cleft palate assessment, diagnosis of dental caries (cavities), endodontic (root canal) diagnosis, and diagnosis of dental trauma.”
Standard dental procedures that might require the use of the scanner include:
- Preparing for tooth extractions
- Preparing for cosmetic or reconstructive procedures like crowns, veneers, onlays, and inlays
- Planning a root canal or bone graft
- Measuring available jawbone when placing a dental implant
- Detecting and treating TMJ, jaw tumor, or sinus issue
Why doesn’t your dentist just use a traditional x-ray in these situations? Because you can’t get as much information using a traditional, two-dimensional x-ray. CT scans provide better image quality and allow you to see the mouth in 3-dimensions.
Do you need to prepare in any way before a dental cone beam CT scan? No. Wear your regular clothing. Let us know if you are pregnant or may be pregnant, or you’ve recently developed a new illness or medical condition. The Cone Beam CT scanner will rotate around you and capture images using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. Positioning the machine might take a few minutes, but the whole scan takes less than a minute to complete!
Are There Risks with a Dental Cone Beam CT Scan?
As the Radiological Society of North America notes, “CT scanning is painless, noninvasive and accurate,” and “no radiation remains in a patient’s body after a CT examination.” The FDA adds that “the radiation doses from dental CBCT exams are generally lower than other CT exams.”
Even so, dental x-ray examinations of any kind are only performed when necessary for diagnosis or treatment to limit a patient’s exposure to radiation.
Dental Technology at Ponderosa Dental
If you’re looking for a dentist office in Missoula with state-of-the-art equipment and expertise, you’re in the right place. Contact us today for a routine cleaning or to investigate a dental issue that’s troubling you. We have the technology and knowledge to take care of all your dental health needs!