Cone Beam CT

In 2009 we welcomed the Kodak 9000 CBCT X-Ray machine into our office. Since then the CBCT has proven to be a valuable tool for diagnosis and treatment of the teeth and jaw. You may be wondering “What exactly is a CBCT?” CBCT stands for Cone Beam Computed Tomography (“tomo” means slices). The CBCT machine produces minimal radiation, it is a safer, faster and more compact version of the regular CT machines found in hospitals and imaging centers. Essentially, it gives us the capability to visualize your tooth in 3-Dimensions. The CBCT scan provides images of the tooth divided into about 500 small X-Ray pictures: each one is a slice. We are then able to reconstruct an internal view of the tooth using one or more of the slices. The image can then be rotated on a computer screen and viewed from any angle. The information gained from our 3D technology gives us many advantages and aids in the successful treatment of your tooth.

Frequently asked questions about CBCT:

Why would a CBCT scan need to be taken?

Generally, a CBCT scan is done in cases where a tooth has been previously treated with root canal therapy but may need further evaluation. It is possible that a tooth may need re-treatment of a root canal due to a variety of reasons. In previous years dentists did not have the use of digital X-Rays or high powered microscopes during root canal treatment. Because of this lack of technology, canals inside the tooth were often missed and subject to re-infection.

Another reason a CBCT scan would be done is when the canals of the tooth have become calcified. When a tooth is calcified it may be difficult for the dentist to see the canals on a standard 2-Dimensional X-Ray. The CBCT scan makes it possible for the dentist to navigate within the root canal system. CBCT scans may also be performed if the dentist suspects that the tooth has an unusually high number of internal canals or abnormal anatomy. In addition to the 2-Dimensional X-Rays, the CBCT scan can be very helpful in teeth that have suffered traumatic injury. It can show the type and extent of injury.

Additionally, if a tooth is to be replaced by an implant, a pre-implant bone and nerve assessment using the CBCT is routinely performed to assure that the implant will be placed i safe distance from arteries, veins and nerves.

Finally, a CBCT scan will show cysts, some tumors and their respective position within the jaw.

How long does the scan take?

The CBCT takes approximately 15-20 seconds to scan the desired area. After the scan is finished it only takes a moment to configure the images. The scan is then able to be viewed on your computer screen or copied onto a disc.

What is the risk of exposure?

The amount of radiation from a CBCT scan is equivalent to 5 days of background radiation we experience in everyday life. Due to its size, the amount of radiation from the CBCT is drastically less than that of the larger CT scan you would have in a hospital setting. The CBCT uses a cone shaped X-Ray beam to capture the target area and limit secondary exposure to other areas. A lead apron is always worn during the CBCT scan to limit radiation to the rest of the body.