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Cone-Beam Computerized Technology

In the past, endodontists had to rely on traditional 2D images to diagnose and treat complex endodontic (root canal) problems. Thanks to improvements in Cone-Beam Computerized Technology (CBCT), we are able to offer high-definition 3D imaging to our patients.

A CBCT scan creates a virtual 3D replica of a tooth or an area of the mouth, which provides more valuable information than traditional 2D images.  The focused x-ray beam reduces scatter radiation, resulting in better image quality.  A single scan has the ability to image bone and soft tissue at the same time, and produces a wide variety of views and angles that can be manipulated to provide a more complete evaluation.

The endodontic needs of our patients are often complex.  This revolutionary imaging technique improves diagnostic speed and accuracy, and helps us find the most predictable solutions.  With the aid of CBCT, endodontists can now diagnose root fractures, hidden canals, resorptions and a variety of bone and sinus pathology that otherwise would not be possible.  In addition to helping prevent tooth loss by identifying treatable endodontic conditions, the new technology helps patients avoid costly exploratory procedures and unpredictable treatments.

In addition, incidental findings may be significant with CBCT scans, allowing us the opportunity to catch issues early and refer patients to the appropriate doctor.  

CBCT are most often read by the endodontist requesting the scan, but in some cases, it is necessary to request a reading by a board certified Oral Maxillofacial Radiologist.  In this case, the radiologist will carefully review your scan and create a comprehensive report covering the area of interest and any existing pathology.  

We are able to provide reports with CT images and CD’s with entire scans to all dentists and co-therapists involved in the patient’s care.  These are very valuable for collaborative treatment planning.  CT scan data can be useful for restorative treatment planning with no additional cost or radiation exposure for the patient.

Referrals for CBCT

Although we commonly use Cone Beam CT for treatment planning of endodontic issues in our office, dentists often refer their patients to our office for just a Cone Beam CT scan.  This 3D scan can help the doctor in:  

  • Restorative treatment planning.
  • Planning of surgical removal of impacted teeth.
  • Diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
  • Accurate placement of dental implants.
  • Evaluation of the jaw structures, sinuses, nerve canals, and nasal cavity.
  • To locate the origin of pain or pathology.

If you are referred for a CBCT only, our office will generate the scan and provide it on a disc for reading and evaluation by your dentist.    

For over 50 years, North Shore & Brookline Endodontics has been a leader in providing the highest level endodontic care in the most advanced environment. Our experience with 3D imaging demonstrates that this technology is vital to our profession and is rapidly becoming a standard of care for treatment of complex endodontic problems.

Frequently Asked Questions About CBCT Scans

How long does a CBCT scan take?
On average, a CBCT scan takes about 20-40 seconds – and you will only have to remain still during this time. While it may take a couple of minutes the get the machine ready to go and give you details about what to expect to receive the scan, the actual scan itself lasts less than a minute. In that time frame, nearly 200 images are taken in order to create the final 3D image.
Does it hurt to get a CBCT scan?
No. There is no pain or discomfort associated with getting a CBCT scan. The machine moves around your head without ever coming in contact with you. And you simply need to remain still for the length of the scan.
Is a CBCT scan safe?
Absolutely. The CBCT scan uses a low radiation method in order to obtain some very important diagnostic images to aid your endodontist in creating a plan for treatment.
How can I prepare for a CBCT scan?
There is nothing you need to do to prepare for a CBCT scan. In fact, it is conveniently done right in our office when you come for your appointment. Keep in mind that you may have to remove any jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or metal objects that may interfere with imaging. Otherwise, the entire process is quick and easy.
Can a CBCT scan show if an infection has spread?
Yes. While x-rays can show infection, a CBCT scan will be able to show whether that infection has spread. It can even look further than just the tooth, allowing the endodontist to assess whether the infection has spread more, such as into the neck.
Do the images have to be sent out to be analyzed?
No. Your endodontist will be able to read and interpret the results right away. As soon as the images are available. This ensures that there is no delay in your treatment.
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