Frequently Asked Questions about Cone Beam CT scans,
A guide to accurate diagnostics, effective treatment
Technology is a great “helper” for our team at Soft Touch Endodontics in Suwanee, Georgia. In fact, advanced technologies support our ability to provide “soft touch” or gentle care. These technologies are also a wonderful complement to the advanced specialty techniques that our endodontist, Dr. Darlene Davis, provides.
Diagnostic tools, like the cone beam CT scanner, furthermore aid in our ability to see what is going on in your mouth. There are areas of the mouth that are not visible to the human eye. The information collected by using the CBCT scanner helps to ensure that an accurate diagnosis is made. We need an accurate diagnosis to know how to move forward and understand the treatments necessary to resolve the underlying condition and causes of distressing symptoms like toothaches.
So, what is the CBCT scanner exactly?
CBCT stands for “cone beam computed tomography.” While this sounds like a complex mouthful, CBCT is simply an innovative twist on traditional computed tomography (CT) scans. These systems feature a rotating arm. The arm goes around you a full 360 degrees. Along the way, the scanner collects a large volume of quality images of your mouth, jaws, neck, ears, nose, and throat from various perspectives. Equipped with a cone-shaped x-ray beam, just one scan can provide us with a complete and full picture of your mouth and the condition that may have led to our taking the scan in the first place.
How do you take the scan?
It’s easy! In fact, there is nothing special to do before your treatment. Preparation is minimal and hassle-free. As the arm rotates around you, we just ask that you sit still. No worries, though, because you don’t have to sit very long. In addition to producing lots of detailed and clear images, CBCT scans are also convenient and efficient. We can take a full-mouth x-ray in just 20 to 40 seconds. If we need a less expansive scan, such as insights into a particular area of the mouth or jaw, regional scanning can be performed in 10 seconds!
What do you do with the scans?
As an endodontic practice, dentists often bring their complex cases to us. So, we want to get as much accurate information as possible about the innermost tooth structure. We may be looking for signs such as abscess formation, bone loss (resorption), or anatomical complexities that could have been missed during previous treatments. This information is then used to develop plans for root canal therapy, root canal retreatment, or other techniques (like surgical root-end resection or apicoectomy).
As a cutting-edge tool, Dr. Davis takes these images and uses special software to create a 3-dimensional digital model of your mouth and connected oral structures. Since this 3-D reconstruction may be viewed on a computer monitor, we can walk you through exactly what may be occurring within your mouth. This feature aids in patient communication and enhances your understanding and ability to make an informed decision about treatment alongside Dr. Davis.
How does CBCT compare to traditional x-rays?
We are glad you asked! Aside from producing quality images at various angles and at high speed, CBCT is also very safe. These systems are associated with around 80% less radiation exposure than conventional imaging. Film-based imaging also produces a lot of waste. We avoid that with CBCT scans that “live” in the digital environment.
Call us to learn more about the many benefits of CBCT and partnering with specialty providers who use advanced tools and techniques! Soft Touch Endodontics may be reached at (770) 501-4645.