Cone Beam CT and 3D Imaging
There are times when our facial or dental x-rays are not sufficient to get the results we need from an exam. This will require us to use a special type of x-ray machine known as a dental cone beam computed tomography, better known as a CT scan. This allows us to get a better image of your teeth, underlying bones, and facial structure, allowing us to come up with a better treatment plan for specific procedures. Our staff at Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery is trained to perform these types of scans and will only do so when we feel a traditional x-ray will not produce the results we need.
What Is a 3D Dental Cone Beam CT?
A dental cone beam CT scan is only advised when we need to take a further look at your dental or facial bones. It is not often used because it uses significantly more radiation than our typical dental x-rays but will be used when necessary. A dental cone beam CT uses a special type of technology that creates a vivid three-dimensional (3D) scan of your soft tissue, nerve paths, dental structures, and bone in your craniofacial region in just one scan. This type of scan allows us to create a more precise treatment plan for specific dental procedures. A dental cone beam CT differs from a conventional CT scan but does produce images in a similar quality as a conventional CT scan.
Why Would I Need This Type of X-Ray?
There are several reasons we might recommend you undergo a 3D cone beam scan, most of which are orthodontic issues or generally complex cases. If you require a complete reconstructive surgery, this CT scan will allow us to see the entire structure of your face more clearly, so we know how to best handle the surgery. We may use it to locate the origin of any pain you are experiencing that cannot otherwise be identified. It is also commonly used in identifying an oral pathology including oral cancer, lesions, and ulcers. If you require a sinus lift, we use it to evaluate your nasal cavity, sinuses, nerve canals, and general jaw placement before doing the procedure. It is also necessary for accurate placement of any dental implants, bridges, or even dentures. If you suffer from extreme jaw pain or discomfort, we use a cone beam scan to help diagnose temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). These are the most common uses for the 3D cone beam, but it is not exclusive to only these issues, depending more on your case.
Is There Any Preparation Involved?
If we have recommended you for a 3D cone beam CT scan, you will not have to do any special preparation for it. It is a relatively simple and painless scan that only requires you to remove any metal objects before it is performed. If you have removable dental work, we may have to remove it before doing the CT scan, which can prolong the process, since we will then need to reinstall the dental work after the scan is performed.
Not all dental procedures require a 3D dental cone beam scan, so it is not something you will likely experience unless you are undergoing extensive surgery. Our staff at Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery will notify you ahead of time if this is something we will require from you. If you have any questions before having the CT scan, call us at (980) 332-7990 and one of our experienced staff members will be happy to assist.