When May Dental Cone Beam CT Be Indicated?

Dental cone beam computed tomography (cone beam CT) is a special type of x-ray equipment used when regular dental or facial x-rays are not sufficient. Your dentist or endodontist may use this technology to produce three-dimensional (3D) images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and bone in a single scan, especially in cases of a more complex diagnosis.

This procedure requires little to no special preparation. Tell your dental professional if there’s a possibility you are pregnant. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home. You may be asked to wear a gown.

Dental cone beam CT was developed as a means of producing similar types of images but with a much smaller and less expensive machine that could be placed in the dentist’s office.

Cone beam CT provides detailed images of the bone and is performed to evaluate diseases of the jaw, dentition, bony structures of the face, nasal cavity and sinuses. It does not provide the full diagnostic information available with conventional CT, particularly in evaluation of soft tissue structures such as muscles, lymph nodes, glands and nerves. However, cone beam CT has the advantage of lower radiation exposure compared to conventional CT.

What Are Some Common Uses of the Dental Cone Beam CT Procedure?

Dental cone beam CT is commonly used for treatment planning of orthodontic issues. It is also useful for more complex cases that involve: