One of the best ways to find out what’s going on in a patient’s mouth is to get a clear 3D picture of their teeth, jaw, and airways.
Most of the time, digital X-rays are sufficient for routine care. In some circumstances, though, a dentist may need to view more precise imaging. For example, your child’s dentist may need to understand the exact location of impacted teeth in preparation for surgical intervention.
This is where Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) comes in. CBCT is what allows us to get the clearest picture possible of your child’s teeth and more. This, in turn, helps us to always provide the very best treatment recommendations for comprehensive dental care.
CBCT allows us to go beyond digital X-rays and regular dental exams by rendering 3D images of the mouth and throat.
What Is CBCT?
Cone Beam Computed Tomography is a form of digital imaging that goes beyond simple X-rays. Even though digital X-rays are an important part of consistent, comprehensive dental care, CBCT takes it a step further.
This type of advanced imaging system generates high-resolution 3D images of the areas being examined. The detailed CBCT images surpass the quality of traditional dental X-rays, clearly showing bone, dental structures, nerves, and soft tissue, which allows our pediatric dentists to formulate accurate diagnoses and aids in precise treatment planning.
The “T” in CBCT stands for tomography, which is a form of imaging used to create a cross-section of a specific part of the body. Using penetrative wave technology, CBCT captures the entire mouth, throat, and neck.
How CBCT Dental Scan Technology Works
A CBCT scanning system uses a cone-shaped X-ray beam, which rotates around the patient’s head, capturing hundreds of images. Together, these images are compiled to construct a 3D representation of the mouth and throat.
Our CBCT system can capture a variety of images and angles, some of which include a panoramic scan of your child’s mouth, a Ceph scan (a scan of the side of the cranium), and an airway scan, which can be used to evaluate breathing challenges and capabilities.
CBCT dental scans can capture images of multiple parts of the body, including:
CBCT Detects Hidden Problems
CBCT allows your child’s dentist to see beyond what is visible in an exam or traditional X-rays.
We can use CBCT dental scans to investigate symptoms related to a number of health problems:
- Detection of dental cavities
- Examination of dental trauma
- Abnormal teeth
- Bone and jaw problems
- Abnormal growths
- Nervous system issues
- Sinus problems
- Deviated nasal septum
- Soft tissue injuries
- Tooth decay
- Bone loss
- Temporomandibular joint issues
- Problems related to the dental roots or pulp
- Periodontal infections
What to Expect at Your Child’s CBCT Scan Dentist Appointment
Your child will not receive CBCT scanning on a routine basis. Instead, CBCT is used as a diagnostic and treatment tool when there is a specific need for further testing and evaluation.
CBCT scanning is painless, and there is no discomfort for the patient.
The CBCT scanning machine captures between 150 and 200 images as an X-ray arm rotates around your child’s head. Some CBCT machines are designed for the patient to stand during the scan, while others allow the patient to be seated.
Typically, it takes only 10–40 seconds to complete the scan. Your child will need to hold very still, but we place stabilizers around the ears as a gentle method of holding his or her head in place. Your child will also bite down on a small piece of stabilizing plastic to help keep still.
Is CBCT Safe for Pediatric Patients?
CBCT is a form of X-ray imaging. It is a non-invasive method of gathering essential information about a patient’s teeth, mouth, and throat.
All X-ray scanning delivers some degree of radiation, and Dental CBCT scanning emits more radiation than a conventional dental X-ray. However, it is still less than the amount of radiation on a round trip flight from Washington DC to Los Angeles, California!
Dental X-rays are understood to be extremely safe, especially when paired with appropriate protection. Nonetheless, we only do CBCT scans for diagnostic purposes in order to limit our patients’ exposure to unnecessary radiation.
The FDA provides a useful resource guide to help parents understand the risks and benefits of X-ray scans. We are also happy to answer your questions before or during your child’s visit to Ashburn Children’s Dentistry.
Ashburn Children’s Dentistry Uses State of the Art Diagnostic Tools
Choosing the right dentist for your child doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Our team of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and administrative staff does everything we can to make sure that you and your child have a pleasant, fun, and stress-free experience.
At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, our priority is to create healthy smiles that will last a lifetime. We have years of experience in pediatric dentistry, including using state of the art diagnostic technology like CBCT dental scans.
If you have questions about your child’s dental history or future treatment, give our office a call at (703) 723-8440.