Available in Europe in 1999 and introduced in the United States in 2001, Cone Beam CT (CBCT) is a relatively new imaging technology that generates a 3D volume of image data. Using a cone-shaped x-ray beam rather than the linear fan beam of conventional CT's, a CBCT scanner takes just one revolution around the patient to capture these multiplanar views. With imaging software, the data may be reconstructed to render 3D views that can be manipulated to show different angles, varying depths and thicknesses, and be selective for certain tissues. The dose of radiation needed for a CBCT is much lower than for a conventional CT.
3D CT scans allow the surgeon and restorative dentist to optimally plan and place dental implants. Their uses and benefits are present throughout the continuum of care from diagnosis to treatment to post-op examinations and include:
And with the use of guided implant placement based on 3D CT scans, all the above benefits are enhanced to the point that the surgeon can approach each case with the confidence that comes from knowing that the best available image data and technology have been used to ensure success.
Cone Beam CT scans can provide a more accurate and 3-dimensional assessment to provide more predictable treatment results while reducing the risks associated with any impacted tooth.
Volumetric data obtained from a CBCT survey can be used to visualize the sinuses and the entire airway path from the nasal and oral entrances to the laryngeal spaces for:
CBCT scans provide a superior means of visualizing and studying pathological processes in the maxilla and mandible. This information is invaluable when planning any surgical efforts for biopsy or resection. The data can be used to:
Although conventional radiography is more practical and better suited for everyday endodontic procdures, volumetric data from CBCT scans can provide serial axial, coronal, and sagittal views that are not possible to obtain from conventional radiography. The ability to reduce or eliminated superimposition of surrounding structures makes it easier to visualze areas of interest in three-dimensions. This provides much clinically relevant diagnositic information and has many potential applications for endodontics including:
Accurate evaluation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) has been difficult due to the superimposition of other structures in conventional radiographs. With Cone Beam CT imaging, it is now possible to:
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The disadvantages of conventional 2-dimensional x-rays for accurate periodontal assessment is avoided by 3-dimensional and cross-sectional analyses helping to avoid surprises often encountered during periodontal surgery.
In addition to implant placement, a Cone Beam CT scan is an invaluable diagnostic and treatment planning tool for the oral surgeon for: