It’s basically a three-dimensional radiograph, a “3D x-ray”. CBCT stands for “Cone Beam Computed Tomography”. You may have heard of a medical “CAT scan”; this is a similar technology, but using a cone-shaped beam allows us to get the information we need with significantly less radiation.
The dentist will prescribe a CBCT scan for a number of reasons. Sometimes we want to see a 3D image prior to surgery or implant placement for your safety. Other times we need to see the jaw joints, sinuses, or some unusual anatomy.
There are a number of different scans, but a typical one lasts just under 9 seconds. You will have to remove any facial jewelry, hearing aids, and neck chains, and wait for a dentist to review that the scan has all the information we need, so if you are from an outside clinic, you will be in our clinic about twenty minutes.
That depends on what your dentist has requested. Sometimes they will have us burn a copy on disk and send it back with you; other times they will have us mail a disc or send it to them digitally through secure upload transfer. On occasion, we will also send the information to a specialist called an Oral & Maxillofacial Radiologist for review.