Cone Beam Imaging: 60-seconds to a healthier mouth

We’ve all seen, and most of us have had, the full head x-ray that goes around your head to give a panoramic view of all the angles of your teeth. Well, cone beam imaging (CBCT) is similar except that it gives the dentist a 3D image of your teeth and facial bones.

Lots of patients have questions about new technologies that look inside of them, so we thought we would try to answer some of them.

Is it safe? This is always the first question, and rightly so. Yes. It’s safe. You are exposed to less radiation than the average CT scan and it’s only for 60 seconds. The x-rays that are used are harmless. The entire process is painless and simple. There is no preparation, so you don’t have to do anything special at the dentist appointment.

Why do I need a CBCT scan? Most x-rays focus on your teeth. This scan shows all the bones of your face. Just like the foundation on a house, the bones of your face and the foundation of your teeth. Knowing the condition and formation of your facial bones is a huge help in letting your dentist understand what’s going on in your mouth. For example, a CBCT scan will show how your jaw is set so that a dentist can see if there is anything wrong there that might affect your teeth.

How is this different from regular x-rays? Regular x-rays focus on your teeth, not your whole mouth. With a CBCT scan your dentist can see all the different bones and look for problems that won’t show up in traditional x-rays. Also, because the CBCT scan shows every angle at once, your dentist can look at your teeth from any direction to figure out if there is a problem. They can even color code things in your mouth to make it easier to see.

Is it better than traditional x-rays? In a lot of ways, yes. Mainly because it would take dozens of x-rays to make up the complete picture that one CBCT scan creates. Having this machine go around you once for 60 seconds is so much better than having all those “bite wing” x-rays put into your mouth. Of course, your dentist might want a couple of those x-rays too, since they are focused on those specific teeth.

CBCT images are especially important for dental implants. Because implants are placed into the bones of the face, knowing the condition and placement of those bones can mean the difference between a good implant and a great implant.

As always, we invite you to ask any questions you have and we will be glad to help you with any concerns.

Contact Us

  • Blayne J. Gumm, DDS,
    ABGD, MAGD, MICOI
  • 490 N Indian Rocks Road
  • Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770

  • Phone: (727) 584-5693
  • Fax: (727) 586-3331