What You Need To Know About Cone Beam Computed Tomography

Technology is one of the most prominent factors in the growth of modern-day dentistry. These advances have allowed dentists to minimize risk, pain, and post-procedure issues with less discomfort and greater precision for the patient. As the dental experience and technology improve, anxiety and fear of the dentist have reduced. Dental cone computed tomography (CBCT) is one of the advancements that is becoming commonly used; it enhances the overall dental experience and provides new information to dentists. 


What Is Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)? 

In some situations, regular dental or facial x-rays are not producing results; when this occurs, a dental cone beam computed tomography scan can be used. It is a special x-ray machine that is not frequently used as the radiation exposure is more than regular dental scanners, however it is substantially less exposure than most hospital based x-ray systems. The CBCT allows accurate three-dimensional measurements of the patient’s hard tissue structures using radiographic imaging. The imaging provided by this technology is of a higher diagnostic quality and has excellent dimensional accuracy. 

This technology has become increasingly available and provides dental clinics with quality 3D representations of the patient’s facial structure and tissues with reduced radiation hazards. CBTC allows more precise treatment planning and can evaluate diseases of the nasal cavity, sinuses, jaw, bone structure of the face, and dentition.  

What Is The Cone Beam Computed Tomography Commonly Used For? 

As mentioned above, CBCT can be used when regular dental x-rays are not producing results. Dentists also commonly use this technology to make a treatment plan for issues and more complex cases such as: 

  • Diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) 

  • Evaluation of the sinuses, nerve canals, nasal cavity, and jaw 

  • Surgical planning for impacted teeth 

  • Defining accurate placement of dental implants 

  • Locating the origin of pathology or pain

  • Reconstructive surgery

  • Cephalometric analysis 

  • Detecting, treating, and measuring jaw tumors

  • Determining tooth orientation and bone structure


How Does The Procedure Work? 

During cone beam computed tomography, multiple images are captured from various angles; these images are then constructed into a 3D structure. The C-arm or gantry rotates around the patient’s head as the x-ray source and detector rotate on opposite sides. CBCT captures 150 to 200 high-resolution 2D images in a single rotation; once these images combine to form a 3D image, the dentist can discover valuable information about the patient’s oral and craniofacial health. 


How To Prepare

These examinations require no prior preparation. While at the dental clinic, the dentist may need the patient to remove items such as jewelry, hearing aids, hair pins, eyeglasses, or other interferences that may affect the results of the CBCT. 

Women should always inform the dentist about a possible pregnancy. 

The Experience Before and After the Procedure


The scanner causes no pain during the examination, and patients can return to normal activities once the procedure is complete. 

The Benefits and Risks of Cone Beam Computed Tomography


  • Better quality imagery produced by the focused x-ray beam

  • Less radiation exposure than regular dental x-rays

  • Radiation does not remain in the patient’s body after the exam

  • More precise treatment planning

  • The scanner is painless, accurate and non-invasive

  • The CBCT’s primary advantage is the ability to produce images of the bone and soft tissue at the same time 

  • There are no immediate side effects 


  • With any excessive radiation exposure, there is always a small chance of increased cancer risk. However, the accurate diagnosis and other benefits outweigh the risks of a CBCT scan.

    • CBCT scans should only be conducted on children if it is essential, as they are more sensitive to radiation. Children should not have repeat CBCT scans unless necessary, and the exam should be conducted with a low-dose technique. 


Cone Beam Computed Tomography has become increasingly accessible in dentistry. This technology has expanded the fields of treatment possibilities and diagnosis. These scanners have multiple benefits, and there is no preparation required or side effects after. Patient dental anxiety has significantly decreased with new technology, and the CBCT is an example, providing a non-invasive, painless exam. Knox Mountain Dentistry offers CBCT scanning, providing higher-quality images for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Visit our website today to book an appointment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *