What is a CBCT Scan and Why Do You Need One? | Southwest Endodontics
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What is a CBCT Scan and Why Do You Need One?

cbct scan

What is a CBCT Scan and Why Do You Need One?

Key Takeaways:

    Enhance Diagnostic Precision: Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) scans offer superior diagnostic capabilities compared to traditional X-rays by offering three-dimensional views of dental structures. This advanced imaging technology enables endodontists to detect complex root anatomy, calcium blockages, fractures, and other issues not visible with conventional X-rays.

    Low Radiation Exposure: Although CBCT scans involve some radiation exposure, this exposure is minimal compared to other imaging methods like CT scans. Furthermore, advancements in CBCT technology have drastically decreased radiation doses to ensure patient safety.

    Optimization of Treatment Planning and Execution: Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) scans enable endodontists to visualize dental structures with unprecedented detail, enabling more precise treatment planning and execution. When combined with advanced tools like the GentleWave system, endodontists can offer less invasive yet more successful therapies, thus improving patient outcomes and experiences.

    Overall, CBCT technology represents an immense advancement in endodontic care, allowing practitioners to offer more accurate diagnoses, reduce treatment complications, and increase patient satisfaction. Trusting clinics like Southwest Endodontics that utilize cutting-edge technologies ensure patients receive only the highest quality of care available.

The latest in endodontic technology is the CBCT scan. This type of imaging gives your doctor more information than X-rays offer, allowing them to know more about the anatomy of your teeth for better planning of treatment methods. Today, endodontists use CBCT scans and other types of technology to improve care, reduce complications, and help you to have better experiences.

What Is a CBCT Scan?

CBCT scans also go by longer names of cone-beam computed tomography scans or cone-beam scans. The name comes from the cone-shaped device used for taking images of your mouth.

When you get a scan, an arm moves around your head, taking up to 200 images. The computer combines these images to produce a three-dimensional view of your teeth. Your endodontist can see inside your teeth to find areas that may cause problems, such as complex root anatomy or calcium blockages before they begin treatment.

The process of cone beam scanning takes just a few minutes, and you will not feel anything during the process. You don’t need to prepare for the scan or take any precautions after. Additionally, no radiation remains in your body after the CBCT scan ends, which minimizes the long-term effects of the scan.

Your endodontist will likely use this type of scanning to see the extent of dental trauma, to plan surgery, or to see inside your tooth before root canal treatment. They get the results almost immediately, so they can begin treatment within minutes after the scan.

Do CBCT Scans Generate Radiation?

Imaging inside the teeth requires the use of radiation-based scanning tools, which include digital X-rays or CBCT scans. Even if you have minimal radiation exposure from these types of imaging devices, the benefits to your endodontic care outweigh it.

When your endodontist requests images of your mouth with a CBCT scan, you will have very little radiation exposure, especially compared to other imaging forms. CBCT scans produce lower doses of radiation than CT scanners used at hospitals, which use hundreds of radiation pulses to produce three-dimensional images of larger areas of the body. At Southwest Endodontics, our equipment uses a single radiation pulse and exposes patients to 90% less radiation than hospital CT scanners.

Because you still have radiation exposure, no matter how small the dose, endodontists only recommend CBCT scans when absolutely necessary to diagnose problems or to plan treatment.

How Does a CBCT Scan Differ from an X-Ray?

X-rays help dental professionals to see the bones inside your mouth and jaw. This imaging can help them to identify decay in teeth or bone problems. However, soft tissues do not show up well on X-rays. Plus, X-rays only show two-dimensional images. To get a clearer picture of your tooth and surrounding structures in three dimensions, an endodontist will use a CBCT scan.

When your endodontist orders a CBCT scan, they need to see inside the tooth. The high-definition images the scanner takes produce clear views of the tooth from all sides and in the middle. These images offer powerful information that decades ago would require an endodontist to perform exploratory surgery to discover. Today, CBCT scans let your endodontist identify if you have periodontal infections, growths, fractures, root or pulp problems, bone loss, or tooth decay.

Benefits of a CBCT Scan for Endodontic Care

When you get a cone beam scan, your endodontist has determined that the sharp images generated by the device provide vital information necessary to offer you care. Therefore, you should rest assured that your doctor has your best interests in mind when they recommend that you get this type of scan.

Cone beam scanners offer:

  • Better images than X-rays
  • Lower radiation exposure than a traditional CT scanner
  • Three-dimensional images that show tissues and the interior of your teeth
  • A view that helps your endodontist plan their treatment

Today’s endodontists pair the powerful imaging of cone beam scanners with other forms of technology to give you less invasive endodontic treatment with high success rates.

How Your Endodontist Uses a CBCT Scan to Offer Improved Endodontic Care

CBCT scanning offers one tool in the large technological tool chest of modern endodontic clinics. Imaging with cone beam technology gives doctors a preview of what they will see inside the tooth when they begin surgery or non-surgical treatment. So, whether you need root canal therapy, apicoectomy, or care for a traumatic dental injury, this scanning technology helps your endodontist choose the right treatment and prepare for issues.

Scanning gives your endodontist a planning tool, but other pieces of technology in the office improve care. At Southwest Endodontics, we use the GentleWave system, which allows our doctors to clean out parts of the tooth’s canals that they would not be able to reach using more traditional tools. When used for root canal treatment, this system requires a smaller opening in the tooth than tools need. Plus, it does not put patients at risk of having a tool break off inside the tooth. The GentleWave system delivers waves of sound and water inside the tooth to clean it out, even in areas that traditional tools would not get to.

High-tech tools such as the GentleWave system can reduce root canal failures that may happen from leaving behind broken tools or infected pulp inside a tooth.

However, having the latest in technology in an office will only help if the endodontists offer compassionate care that puts their patients at ease. At our Southwest Endodontics locations, we strive to ensure that all our patients have comfortable, painless treatment delivered by a team of caring and professional experts.

Trust Southwest Endodontics for Endodontic Treatment That Leverages the Latest Technology

At Southwest Endodontics, we make use of all the latest endodontic tools to give our patients quality care. Part of that technology is using CBCT scans to provide our doctors the vital information they need for diagnosing patients and planning treatment. 

Call us at Southwest Endodontics. With our locations in Geneva and Orland Park, IL, you have sources for high-tech endodontic care near your neighborhood.