What is a Cone Beam CT (CBCT) scan?

CBCT is a new type of X-ray examination for dental patients which produces 3-dimensional images of your teeth and jaws. It is also sometimes called “Digital Volumetric Tomography” (DVT) or other alternative names.

Why have I been asked to have a CBCT scan?

The scans are useful in many different types of dentistry, especially for dental implant planning, managing impacted teeth and root canal treatments. At Atrium Dental, we typically order them for placement of dental implants. To ensure a successful implant placement, one must take into account the patient’s prosthetic needs, functional requirements, and anatomical constraints. During the assessments, 3-D imaging contributes to a greater success rate due to its ability to visualize previously undetectable anatomic variability and pathology. Without the aid of 3-D imaging, doctors often must speculate on bone density or exactly how deep implants need to be. Panoramic radiography, conventional CT scans, and CBCT scans provide information about each implant site. CBCT images, with less distortion than 2-D images, are more accurate in showing bone height and width and allowing for accurate measurements of jawbone thickness, while defining the shape of the bone contours.

What does the scan look like when it is done?

The CBCT examination produces 3-dimensional pictures of a “volume” of your face. The size of the volume depends on the scanner and your particular clinical needs. The information can be viewed on a computer screen by the dentist to help plan treatment.

Where do I go for a scan?

At Atrium Dental we will send you to a specialist who has the equipment. The scan itself takes only a minute or so but, in most cases, the preparation and positioning will mean that the complete scan will take about 20 minutes. The specialist will send us a copy of x-ray in a cd rom. We use a special implant software to view the x-ray and use it to treatment plan your case.