3D Cone Beam Imaging
For many decades now, the dental industry has relied upon imaging provided by X-rays and similar machines to plan for, detect, and diagnose oral maladies. Using these images, we can discover serious issues within the mouth that we would otherwise not be able to observe at all. Today, we have a new technology available to us that is extremely helpful for many of the same reasons. 3D Cone Beam Imaging has changed the way that we see dental issues, allowing us to more easily and accurately plan dental procedures and diagnose issues in your mouth.
What is Cone Beam Imaging?
Cone Beam Computed Tomography shares many similarities with X-ray technology; in fact, it’s just a better version of the same kind of thing. Cone Beam CT allows us to view the structure in your mouth in an even more in-depth way than traditional or digital X-rays. The Cone Beam CT is a machine that is usually about seven or eight feet tall. Most of the structure of the Cone Beam CT machine is at the top, sitting on a head whose height is adjustable. The machine is made to sweep around the head of patients while taking 3-dimensional images of their mouth. This machine does use some radiation to accomplish its imaging goal.
How Cone Beam Imaging Works
X-rays are a form of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum just like light. X-rays can make a visual impression on certain media the same way that light makes an image on photo film. Light can’t penetrate things very well. Instead, it just hit’s the surface and gets reflected. Energized X-rays can penetrate all kinds of matter and reveal the inner workings of the things it passes through when it hits film on the other side. So, as we send energized X-rays through your body, it gets absorbed at a different level depending on the densities of the structures that it hits. The result is a picture of the inside of your mouth – bone, teeth, and all.
The above describes how a traditional X-ray works. The Cone Beam CT adds one extra step to the imagining process. Instead of taking a single X-ray from a single position outside of your mouth, the Cone Beam CT moves fluidly around your mouth from one side of your head to the other, taking X-rays as it goes. The result is akin to a flip book – place all of the images together, and we get many different perspectives of your teeth that the computer puts together into a three-dimensional image of your teeth and mouth.
The Uses of The Cone Beam CT
We use the Cone Beam CT for a wide variety of reasons. One of the more common ways that we utilize this special piece of machinery is to help us plan a complex dental procedure like implant placement or wisdom teeth extractions. When we can visualize what’s going on inside your mouth, it takes all of the guesswork out of the procedure and allows us to create a plan.
Call us today at (503) 420-7600 to schedule your appointment.