Cone Beam Computed Tomography or 3-D scanning is a variation of a CAT scan that has been adapted to its use in dentistry. It is a very safe way to examine a patient with a very low dose of radiation, unlike medical scans. Medical scans are called fan beam and that’s where a person lays on the table and they get pushed into this huge machine with a round circular magnet around them.
Dental Cone Beam CT scan is pretty much a stand up machine which looks kind of like a panoramic x-ray machine that most people are familiar or used to. The machine moves around the patient’s head and it takes multiple images that are then assembled into a three dimensional image by a computer. Then once this image is assembled, we can rotate the image on the screen and we can measure it exactly and precisely with a 1:1 ratio without distortion.
We can do a virtual planning of an implant surgery prior to actually going in the patient’s mouth so that allows us to avoid any vital structures such as sinus, nerves or blood vessels, virtually. We can see them ahead of time so that when the surgeon does the actual procedure, he knows where these structures are and can avoid them.
The Cone Beam CT has really revolutionized dentistry and the way we practice now.