CBCT scans are taken using a trending technique known as cone beam computed tomography, which until recently has been used exclusively by specialists who can afford the technology. Today, CBCT scanning has become more accessible to the average provider. While many show caution in the face of new trends, CBCT scanning comes with many advantages to accessibility and accuracy compared to older scanning techniques.
If your provider has begun offering CBCT scanning or you want to find one that does, continue reading to learn about the techniques, benefits, and drawbacks of the CBCT scanning trend.
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What is CBCT scanning?
Cone beam computed tomography builds on conventional X-ray scanning techniques with a cone-shaped beam that takes the picture over a wider area. The beam circles the patient’s head, taking multiple wide pictures of the bones, teeth, and other structures.
Remember that orthodontists and dentists perform X-rays for more than routine checkups. They use them to diagnose illnesses and plan treatments, which can be lengthy and costly. The more accurate the scans, the better providers can plan their patients’ treatments accordingly.
What are the benefits of CBCT scanning?
CBCT scans are more accurate and detailed than conventional X-rays. Providers can diagnose issues more quickly, making them easier to treat. The panoramic photos enabled by the technique can lead to more accurate implants and surgeries, as well as more personalized orthodontic appliances.
The scans themselves are not the sole benefit of adopting this technique. The imaging software also provides a host of new benefits. CBCT photos can be scanned and manipulated to get a better sense of scale or to focus on an area the provider is concerned about. The software integrates with many existing systems and can use AI functionality to improve office efficiency by ordering and sorting images more effectively than manual methods.
These 3D scans used to be only available in the offices of specialists. They are now trending for use in mainstream offices due to advances in technology that have cut costs and improved efficiency.
Providers may recommend a CBCT scan to diagnose the following issues:
- Nerve damage/degeneration
- Soft tissue injuries
- Bone loss
- Tooth root disorders
- Abnormal facial growths
- Tooth decay
Due to the seriousness of many of these conditions, providers are adopting CBCT scans to ensure their patients receive the most accurate diagnosis possible.
What is the CBCT scanning process like?
When patients prepare for their CBCT scans, they can be sitting or standing. In either case, the provider will support their chin with a brace or cushion to keep them still. Then, the CBCT machine revolves around their head for a few seconds, taking multiple pictures, sometimes hundreds.
These hundreds of photos can then be processed and reconstructed into an accurate 3D model of their jaw and mouth. This compiled scan provides a far more detailed schematic of the patient’s oral structures than a normal X-ray.
Once finished, the patient will be advised about what the provider notices from their scan. The whole process takes only a few minutes.
Risks associated with CBCT scans
Though CBCT scans use less radiation than conventional X-rays, the radiation is administered more directly. Some studies have shown a cancer risk associated with CBCT scans, particularly in children and women.
Therefore, precautions should be taken in the office to minimize patients’ radiation exposure. In most cases, the benefits of CBCT scans outweigh the risks due to an increased ability to diagnose and treat patients’ oral health issues more accurately.
However, patients should still be informed about the potential risks of any trending technology so that they can best decide whether new treatment methods are justified. If you are concerned about the risks associated with CBCT scans or curious about the benefits, speak with your provider about whether they offer CBCT scans and whether they would be appropriate in your situation.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.