A Welcome Addition
Traditional X-rays have their place. But digital tomography takes dental imaging to the next level. It produces less distorted, sharper images. Using CBCT, your dentist can now distinguish between bone, tooth, nerves and soft tissue. CBCT scans can also identify possible tumors and other diseases that don't appear on traditional X-rays. These capabilities translate into more informed dental treatment plans and more successful dental procedures.
One of the most common dental treatments relying on digital tomography is dental implants. Before placing a dental implant, your dentist can use the CBCT images to evaluate the quality and thickness of your jaw bone. Digital tomography also allows your dentist to locate areas that should be avoided when placing your dental implant.
In addition to helping in the placement of dental implants, computed tomography provides your dentist with a wealth of information which can be used to:
- Plan orthodontic treatment
- Evaluate temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- Diagnose jaw tumors
- Determine the presence of abnormal growths
- Diagnose periodontal disease
- Evaluate patients who have experienced dental trauma
The Full Story
Computed tomography does expose patients to radiation, as do all forms of dental X-rays. The level of exposure is equal to about 8 to 10 days' worth of natural radiation exposure. That may sound like a lot, but compare it to the level of exposure from a medical CT scan, which exposes patients to about 10 months' worth of naturally occurring radiation.
Since digital tomography is still a relatively new technology, it isn't available everywhere. Plus, dentists must undergo special training to ensure correct interpretation of the images.