Cone Beam CT Scan
While generic facial and dental x-rays generally provide dentists with all the information they need, more intensive imaging is sometimes necessary. In these cases, dentists often turn to dental Cone Beam computed tomography (CT), which produces 3-D images of dental structures, including soft tissue, nerve paths, and craniofacial bone. Thanks to the more detailed images Cone Beam CT scans generate, dental surgeons who use them are able to plan their treatments much more precisely.
Although Cone Beam CT scans produce similarly high-quality images to conventional CT imaging, these two techniques are not identical: with Cone Beam CT, a cone-shaped x-ray beam passes around the patient’s head to produce a large quantity of images, or “views.” Dental Cone Beam CT requires much smaller and less expensive equipment than traditional CT, while producing images of a comparable quality. This allows dental offices to comfortable house the instruments.
Dental surgeons use Cone Beam CT imaging to evaluate diseases in the jawbone, bony facial structures, dentition, and the nasal cavity and sinuses. While Cone Beam doesn’t provide the detailed diagnostic information offered in conventional CT imaging – particularly with regards to soft tissue structures like lymph nodes, glands, nerves and muscles – it can produce detailed images with a much lower exposure to radiation.