Cone beam CT scans (or sometimes referred to as CBCT scans) are a dental X-ray that differ to traditional medical CT scans. Usually dental X-rays focus on a small area of a patient’s mouth to produce 2D pictures which are flat. Using CBCT scan equipment, dentists are able to see high resolution, 3D images that offer a panoramic view of a patient’s bone structure and tooth orientation.
A cone beam scanner is a tall machine that patients stand, or something sit, upright next to whilst a C-arm that contacts an X-ray source and detector, rotates 360 degrees around their head. Whilst moving, the arm is capturing multiple images of a patient’s teeth from different angles that are then reconstructed together to create a 3D image.
Many dental practices use a cone beam CT scanner due to their non-invasive nature and pain free experience they provide for a patient.
By using a CBCT scanner, it subjects a patient to a much lower dose of radiations plus generally takes between 10-20 seconds to perform, whereas a traditional CT scanner can take a couple of minutes.
Cone beam CT scans are becoming more popular in dental practices due to their accurate representation and the ability for a cone beam image to be duplicated and stored easily.
Due to the higher quality of CBCT scans, dentists can plan and place dental implants much more accurately. With such a detailed scan, dentists can also detect if a patient is suffering from any deformities or could suffer from possible future problems.