What are some common uses of the procedure?
Dental cone beam CT is commonly used for treatment planning of orthodontic issues. It is also useful for more complex cases that involve:
- surgical planning for impacted teeth.
- diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
- accurate placement of dental implants.
- evaluation of the jaw, sinuses, nerve canals and nasal cavity.
- detecting, measuring and treating jaw tumors.
- determining bone structure and tooth orientation.
- locating the origin of pain or pathology.
- cephalometric analysis.
- reconstructive surgery.
How should I prepare?
A cone beam CT examination requires no special preparation.
Prior to the examination, you may be asked to remove anything that may interfere with the imaging, including metal objects, such as jewelry, eyeglasses, hairpins and hearing aids. Although removable dental work may need to be removed, it is advisable to bring these to your examination, as your dentist or oral surgeon may need to examine these as well.
Women should always inform their dentist or oral surgeon if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. See the Safety page for more information about pregnancy and x-rays.
What does the equipment look like?
Cone beam CT scanners are square-shaped machines that include either an upright chair for sitting or a moveable table so patients can lie down during the examination. Scanners that include a chair have a rotating C-arm, an x-ray image intensifier that contains an x-ray source and detector. Cone beam CT machines with a table include a rotating gantry.
How does the procedure work?
During a cone beam CT examination, the C-arm or gantry rotates around the head in a complete 360-degree rotation while capturing multiple images from different angles that are reconstructed to create a single 3-D image.
The x-ray source and detector are mounted on opposite sides of the revolving C-arm or gantry and rotate in unison. In a single rotation, the detector can generate anywhere between 150 to 200 high resolution two-dimensional (2-D) images, which are then digitally combined to form a 3-D image that can provide your dentist or oral surgeon with valuable information about your oral and craniofacial health.
How is the procedure performed?
You will be asked to sit in the exam chair or lie down on the exam table, depending on the type of cone beam CT scanner being used. Your dentist or oral surgeon will position you so that the area of interest is centered in the beam. You will be asked to remain very still while the x-ray source and detector revolve around you for a 360-degree rotation or less. This typically can take between 20 to 40 seconds for a complete volume, also called a full mouth x-ray, in which the entire mouth and dental structures are imaged, and less than 10 seconds for a regional scan that focuses on a specific area of the maxilla or mandible.
What will I experience during and after the procedure?
You will not experience any pain during a cone beam CT exam, and you will be able to return to your normal activities once the exam is complete.
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Dr. Hadis Reyhani, Dr. Ben Reyhani, and Dr. Pasha Hakimzadeh, DDS, provide a wealth of combined experience, along with innovative technology and personalized care, to help improve our patients’ dental health so they can enjoy smiling again. To schedule an appointment, please call Downey Family Cosmetic Dentistry today at 562-219-3454.