What is CBCT?
Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) is an x-ray technology that allows dentists to see your orofacial structures in 3-D. Traditional dental xrays are 2-D and are usually our first approach when evaluating teeth, but they have inherent limitations, making some diagnoses very difficult. For instance, you may have pain in a tooth that sounds like an infection, but there may be no sign of it on a conventional 2-D x-ray. Additionally, your symptoms may not be clear-cut, leaving your dentist with the following 2 options: guessing (never, ever, ever, ever a good approach) or waiting. Waiting is the best thing in this circumstance because dentists should, at the very least, do no harm. But that leaves you in ongoing pain, which, well, sucks…….it sucks a lot. Enter CBCT…
This technology will often show your dentist which tooth is infected, why it is infected and how extensive the infection is. The diagnostic power of this technology alone is fantastic, but wait – there’s more: it will often guide your dentist’s treatment plan based on these findings. It will show your dentist how many roots/canals a tooth has; it will show your dentist if a previous root canal treatment has any shortcomings; it will tell your dentist if a previous root canal has a perforation; it can even sometimes tell your dentist if a root is cracked. This is invaluable in treatment planning, because your dentist can then discuss the best approach and then proceed, without wasting your time and money on procedures that are doomed to failure (e.g. trying to retreat a root canal that has a cracked root).
Like everything else in a dental office, it is a tool that provides information. It cannot replace the skill or judgment of your dentist, but simply can help them arrive at a more accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment for you. Please contact our office or your dental office with further questions about CBCT.