Shortly after the discovery of x-rays in the early 20th century, it became evident that they could reveal one’s hidden body structure without having to open up the body. At the beginning of the 21st century, x-rays became a vital diagnostic tool. The most recent invention, which is referred to as a Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) in the medical community, is used for dental diagnosis and treatment.
CBCT is similar to the conventional x-rays and standard CT scans but has superior technology and diagnostic capacities. They provide a 3-D image of the intricate structure in the mouth without having to perform surgery. CBCT offers a lot of benefit to both the dentist and the patient. The patient will not have to go through invasive procedures and will have a shorter treatment and recovery time.
The capabilities of CBCT has made it very essential in different fields of dentistry. But as a result of radiation associated with it, the benefits of the device have to be weighed with the little potential risk associated with it.
How CBCT Works
Like visible lights, x-rays are also included in the electromagnetic spectrum. X-rays are capable of forming an image on a photographic film just the way light can. But unlike light, energetic x-rays are capable of penetrating bones and soft tissues, and also reveal their structures as an image. There is a limitation to x-rays in that they are one dimensional.
CBCT scanners are superior to conventional x-rays because they are three dimensional. They take a series of x-rays at different angles, and they use these images to produce a three-dimensional model of whatever it scans.
The CBCT scanners comprise an imaging device that rotates around the patient’s head, taking a series of x-rays images (about 150-600 x-rays images) in less than a minute. The images will be uploaded into a powerful computer which processes and creates a virtual 3-D model of the scanned area. This model will be displayed on a computer screen and viewed at many different angles.
Where can CBCT be Used?
The 3-D imaging which CBCT offers is invaluable in treating several dental problems. They are useful in different dental fields, such as:
- ORTHODONTICS: teeth can be moved to the exact position where they should be using the information provided by CBCT scanners.
- DENTAL IMPLANTS: CBCT images will show the best location to fix titanium implants to avoid nerves and sinuses.
- ORAL SURGERY: with the detailed images provided, surgery can be flawless.
- ENDODONTICS: CBCT images and clear visualizations make it easier for doctors to work on severe cases such as a complicated root canal.
- SLEEP APNEA: with the details and clarity of the mouth, the CBCT scanners will produce causes of sleep apnea that can be diagnosed.
Can I Benefit from CBCT?
No two patients’ situations are alike; therefore, they must be individually accessed clinically before carrying out any procedure. One benefit of CBCT is it’s a very minimal level of radiation, though there are still minor risks associated with such procedures for young patients, as well as those with a history of health complications.