Before, during and after a CBCT dental scan

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If you’re having a CBCT scan, the radiographer will explain exactly what will happen during the scan and help you to get ready for your scan. Beforehand, you will need to remove any loose jewellery (including tongue piercings, earrings and nose studs), dentures, hair accessories and glasses. When you are ready, you will be shown to the scanning room and your radiographer will show you where to sit.

If you are having a CBCT scan as part of implant treatment, your dentist may advise you to take a localisation stent with you; this is a dental appliance, which is similar to a denture and it is worn during the scan.

The radiographer will guide you into position so that your head is in the best place to obtain clear images; it may take a few minutes to find the perfect position. Once you are comfortable, the radiographer will begin your scan.

During your scan

During the scan, the scanner will move around, taking images of your mouth and jaws; you won’t feel any pain at all and all you have to do is remain as still as possible. The scanner will capture numerous images and cross-sections, which will be sent to a monitor. Once the scan is complete, you will be free to go home; you shouldn’t experience any side-effects or problems after your scan.

After your scan

After your scan, you can head home or back to work and you should feel completely normal. The scan images will be sent to your dentist.

Why would I need a dental CT scan?

Dental CT scans are predominantly used in the planning of implant treatment, wisdom tooth extraction and root canal therapy.

Implant treatment

CT scan images provide much more detail than traditional dental X-rays and they are very useful for dentists who are undertaking implant treatment. Implants are small titanium prostheses, which are designed to replace the root of a missing tooth. The placement of the implant is a precise procedure and the CT scan images can be used to identify the optimum position for the implant and also to guide the dentist when they are placing the implant. Finding the best spot for the implant, where the bone is healthy and strong, can help to increase the chances of successful treatment.

Wisdom tooth treatment

Sometimes, the wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, can cause troubles because of a lack of space in the jaw, which causes them to grow abnormally and start to push against neighbouring teeth; this is known as impaction. CT scanning can help to determine the exact location of the tooth and gauge its stage of development; it can also assess potential damage to neighbouring teeth and guide dentists if they are performing an extraction procedure and the tooth is at an abnormal angle or located in a place that is particularly difficult to reach.

Root canal therapy

Root canal therapy is used to treat infected teeth when the infection has spread to the living tissue of the tooth, known as the pulp. This treatment involves clearing out, cleaning and sealing the root canals to remove any damaged and decayed pulp tissue and reduce the risk of infection spreading through the tooth. CT scans provide detailed images of the root canals and they can show up problems, which may not be visible on standard X-rays.

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