3D Cone Beam Imaging

Learn more about or state-of-the-art x-ray imaging.

3D Cone Beam Imaging

3D X-Rays using a CBCT Scanner

The advancements of new equipment like the cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) is changing how an endodontist determines a patient’s root canal condition and treatment. A CBCT scan can help with better endodontic diagnostics and treatments. A CT scan produces an accurate high quality detailed 3D X-ray image. The images deliver incredible features of the tooth’s structure. The photos consist of the surrounding tissue conditions as well as the jawbone structure.

CBCT is a faster and safer version of the regular x-ray. A full cone-shaped X-ray beam scan takes under one minute. The radiation dose is one hundred times less compared to a regular scan. 3-D scans now offer practitioners the ability to collect much more data with a single scan. Studies confirm the radiation dose, and exposure to endodontic treatments is extremely low with little or no risk.

Advantages of 3D Cone Beam Imaging

Case studies show CBCT scans can detect root canal complications. This technology is highly recommended for the detection of early resorption. In dentistry, the term resorption refers to changes to the tooth’s root. The changes are not always due to decay or fracture. These changes occur in the external or internal parts of the tooth. The internal condition affects the root of the pulp space of the tooth. External resorption changes have to do with the outside of the tooth surface. This is where the tooth’s root connects to the jawbone. Completely avoiding either of the following conditions may result in the loss of the tooth.

  • A curved or narrow canal was not treated properly
  • Complicated canals have multiple nerve branches with the canal
  • Broken crown or restoration causing infection
  • New decay-causing infection

The cone-beam computed tomography provides practitioners with a full view of the tooth’s condition. 3D X-ray also captures less distinct dental conditions. Canals that were left untreated by previous practitioners may have been concealed causing root canal infections. Teeth or structures outside of the endodontic field of practice may also need attention. For this reason, the 3-D X-ray detail is so inclusive the images can be shared with other practitioners. It reduces the need for the patient to undergo multiple scans for each practitioner. That’s a cost-saving for the patient and less exposure to radiation. More important, the collaborations provide accurate information about past and current dental care. It’s a better method of monitoring treatment results. It also provides accurate re-treatment scheduling when needed.

3D Cone Beam Imaging technology allows endodontic diagnostics and treatments to be done in the office. In some cases, this new technology is eliminating the need for exploratory surgery. The benefits for the patients are accurate diagnoses. The accuracy can reduce the number of required visits for treatment and follow-ups. Depending on the conditions and the potential future outcomes, non-surgical treatment planning may be recommended. The added value of advanced technology is the precision of diagnoses and the patient will see a higher rate of improved dental health with less pain.

Today’s 3D X-ray is critical in determining the proper treatment and the details aid in foreseeing the future conditions based on the tooth’s structure. For some patients with curved roots or complicated canals, extra precautions may be required to ensure proper treatment. These images are helping to identify other conditions that may affect the healing process. These same conditions may have changed or prevented previous root canal treatments from working. Some patients continue to have infections or problems even after proper root canal therapy. The 3D Cone Beam Imaging may be able to determine the actual cause of the tooth failing to heal completely. This Technology allows the endodontist views of the infected tissue surrounding the root and within the canal. Based on the condition the endodontist will treat the infection if the examination determines the pulp can recover.

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