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By Cristina D Bender DDS

Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography is a really long word for dental CBCT.  It is a three dimensional image that shows us form the top of the skull to the neck.  Having a large field of view plays a paramount role in accurate diagnosis, treatment planning and evaluation of various complex dental conditions.  With the numerous advantages of CBCT technology including reduction in exposure time, radiation dose and cost in comparison to other imaging modalities, this technique is now considered the gold standard for imaging in the mouth.  Let’s review some of my favorite things about CBCT technology.

  1. Root canal therapy

It is never a fun day the we are talking about a root canal to a patient and it is even worse when we are not sure what is going on with a tooth.  CBCT has proven to a diagnostic aid in complex cases, including detecting in extra canals, external and internal resorption and vertical root fractures.  Root fracture is the most common cause of root canal failure that cannot be seen with conventional radiographs.  

  1. Implants, Wisdom Teeth and Oral Surgery

CBCT technology provides cross sectional images in several planes that help us provide an accurate assessment of the bone as well as visualization of nerve canals in the lower jaw and the sinus in the upper jaw.  Knowing bone quality and quantity has minimized or eliminated the need for additional procedures due to the precise measurement of the bone in which the implant is placed.  Using CBCT technology, minimally invasive surgery can be performed reducing surgery time, postoperative pain, swelling and recovery time.  

  1. Airway - nose, sinuses, tongue and airway space

Breathing is vital for life, and many of my fellow airway dental colleagues would argue that it is more important than diet or exercise.  Using our 3D X-ray, we can see the nasal cavity and sinus cavity to ensure our patients have optimal airway health.  It also allows us to assess  and measure the airway to determine if someone airway is adequate or narrow.  If narrow, we can see if tonsils or adenoids obstructing the airway.    We can also measure the width of the dental arches to determine if you have/had good jaw development.  

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