WE NOW HAVE A CBCT!…. (you have a WHAT?)
A CBCT is very simply a 3-dimensional x-ray. It stands for Cone Beam Computed Tomography. It is a faster and safer version of the regular CAT scan. Through the use of a cone shaped X-Ray beam, the size of the scanner, radiation dosage and time needed for scanning are all dramatically reduced.
Our new CBCT machine looks almost identical to the panoramic x-ray machine that we have retired. The CBCT will take the conventional panoramic x-ray, but with the 3-D capability it can show us so much more. The time needed for a full scan is typically under one minute and the radiation dosage is up to a hundred times less than that of a regular medical CT scanner. Not to mention, these images are digital and integrate directly into our patient’s computer records.
This technology is useful many areas of my practice:
- Dental implants – It is fast becoming the “standard of care” for the preliminary x-ray needed for the proper planning of an dental implant.
- Bitewing x-rays – For patients with an active gag reflex this machine has a setting which allows us to take a scan of only the back teeth, similar to the 4 “in-the-mouth” x-rays. So if you cannot tolerate the digital sensors in your mouth that we normally use, this could be a good alternative for you.
- Tooth extractions – We can now see the roots and how they curve in 3-dimensions. We can also see exactly where the tooth is in relation to other dental anatomy such as nerves.
- Root canals – Before we enter the tooth we can know much more about the shape and number of canals a tooth root has.
- Periodontal disease – Now we can see the bone loss in the third dimension which helps us more precisely plan regenerative gum procedures.
- Oral pathologies – We have detailed views of the jaw bones, sinuses and neck structures which allow us to find dental and medical pathologies previously unable to be seen with conventional x-rays.
Not everyone needs this type of x-ray. I am very conscious of limiting my patients’ exposure to x-rays, but it has been and will always be my goal to evaluate and introduce new technologies to my practice that have a real benefit to our patients.