CBCT or Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography is an X-ray equipment which is used in cased where regular facial or dental x-rays do not solve the purpose. It is special x-ray machine that produces 3D (3 dimensional) images of the teeth, nerve pathways, surrounding soft tissue and the bone in a single scan.

This scan is a non-invasive procedure and requires no special preparation. If you need a CBCT, you may be asked to remove your jewelry and may be asked to change into a medical gown. Women may be asked if they are pregnant, which is a normal procedure for X-ray.

Uses of CBCT

CBCT is not the same as the conventional X-ray; it causes more exposure than the normal X-rays. This is the reason it is not done on a routine basis. This scan is powerful enough to create a 3D image of the affected tooth, its nearby tissues, bone and even the nerve paths inside them. This helps doctors get a clear picture of the issue and they can find better solutions for cases where implantation may be needed.

A cone beam CT moves a cone shaped beam around the patient and captures a number of images, which are called views. These views are combines to create a 3D picture. This is similar to a CT scan in term of high-quality image. CBCT was infact created to develop a method of getting high quality images using less expensive and smaller machine. CBCT also has less radiation exposure as compared to CT scan.

CBCT comes in handy when diagnosing issues related to jaw, bony structures, dentition, sinuses and nasal cavity. One area where CBCT lags behind CT scan is its inability to provide full information in evaluation of lymph nodes, nerves, muscles and glands

Some Common Uses of CBCT

  1. Diagnosing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
  2. Evaluation of Jaw, nasal cavity, sinuses and nerve canals
  3. Surgical planning of impacted teeth
  4. Accurate placement of dental implants
  5. Determining bone structure
  6. Checking tooth orientation
  7. Detecting and measuring jaw tumors
  8. Cephalometric analysis
  9. Locating the origin of pain
  10. Reconstructive surgery

Advantages of CBCT

As already mentioned, CBCT provides clearer 3D image of the mouth as compared to a normal X-ray. It lets doctors perform in-depth analysis and provide better solutions and care to a patient. Following are precise advantages of CBCT.

  1. A single scan provides a number of views and angles that can be used to provide a proper diagnosis and a complete evaluation.
  2. CBCT provides more precise information as compared to a regular dental X-Ray.
  3. One of the biggest advantages of CBCT is the ability to check soft tissue and bone at the same time.
  4. X-rays used in this scan have no immediate side effects and there is no chance of residual radiation in the patient’s body.
  5. The focused X-ray reduces the amount of scattered radiation and results in good image quality.
  6. CBCT is a painless procedure and is mostly done as an outpatient procedure.

CBCT is a wonderful procedure for those suffering from serious ailments but like all things good even this procedure has some risks. Children and pregnant women should not opt for this procedure unless the benefits far outweigh the risks. There is also a risk of cancer because of excessive exposure. So, medical practitioners should CBCT with utmost care and only when everything else has failed.

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