Cone Beam Ct

 It’s imperative to stay on the cutting edge of technology to deliver the best results. Learn more below and call to schedule an appointment with us.

CBCT stands for:

Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT).

The full definition:

A CBCT scan uses a particular type of imaging technology to capture 150+ images of your mouth at different angles. These are then digitally compiled into one three-dimensional (3D) image.

What’s the difference between a CBCT scan and an x-ray?

Traditional x-rays and panoramic x-rays are two-dimensional (2D). They only show your teeth and surrounding structures. Think of a flat map vs a globe. 

A CBCT scan is much more detailed than an x-ray.

It displays all of the following at once:

  • Bone

  • Soft tissue

  • Nerves

  • Sinuses

  • Nasal cavity

  • Airway

  • Tooth decay

  • Infections

  • Tooth root issues

  • Facial fractures or abnormal growths

  • Signs of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) disorder or other jaw problems

All of these can still be seen on an traditional x-ray or Pano but they are all superimposed (on top of each other) on the image. With a CBCT they can all be viewed in 3D which allows you to see what’s really happening. 

Is CBCT scan safe?

Yes, CBCT scans are safe.

CBCT scans use radiation but are significantly less than traditional CT scanners.

What’s a CBCT scan used for?

Dental cone beam scans are used for many reasons, including:

  • Planning the placement of a dental implant

  • Preparing for a tooth extraction

  • Determining bone structure and tooth orientation

  • Planning for root canals or bone grafts

  • Evaluating the jaw, sinuses, nerve canals, and nasal cavity

  • Diagnosing TMJ disorder

  • Detecting, measuring, and treating tumors

  • Locating the source of pain

Why you should say “Yes!” to a CBCT scan

There are countless benefits to getting a 3D scan before dental work.

Some of the top reasons are:

  • Higher-quality image: The focused x-rays beam reduces scatter radiation.

  • A complete evaluation: Your dentist will factor in anatomical features that x-rays and panos don’t show.

  • Accurate diagnosis: Feel confident knowing your dentist analyzed detailed information about your mouth to support their findings.

  • Precise treatment planning: CBCT are predominantly used to plan out procedures, especially dental implants.

  • Fewer complications: Your dentist can identify possible difficulties in advance and take steps to avoid or minimize the risk.

  • Successful outcomes: Receive dental care done right the first time with long-lasting results.

Additional bonus points:

  • The scan takes only seconds to complete

  • It’s painless and noninvasive

  • It’s safe

  • Most dental insurance plans cover it

How does CBCT work?

Getting a CBCT scan is comfortable, quick, and requires no special preparation.

A CBCT scanner looks similar to a panoramic x-ray. Not to be confused with an enclosed CT scanner.

Before the scan:

You’ll temporarily remove metal objects that could interfere with imaging. This includes jewelry, removable dental appliances, eyeglasses, and hearing aids.

You should also notify your dentist if you are or could be pregnant.


Your dentist will have you sit or stand in the middle of the scanning machine.

Biting on a piece of equipment to center and stabilize your face 2 small prongs will gently hold your head in place. 

Now the scan:

The machine rotates around your head and face.

For a full mouth x-ray, it takes between 20  seconds.

A partial x-ray focusing on one area takes less than 10 seconds.


It’ll take approximately 4 minutes for the computer to create your 3D image.

Depending on your case, your dentist will either review your scan right away and create a treatment plan or follow up with you.

The good news:

There’s no downtime for you. You can return to normal activities (work, exercise, eating, drink) right away.