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In the last few months since we have been doing ceramic implants, we’ve been able to utilize an important piece of technology: CBCT scans. What is a CBCT scan? And how are we using it? Why is it so important? We will answer those questions in this blog post.

First of all, what is a CBCT scan? CBCT stands for Cone Beam Computed Tomography. It is a type of x-ray that is divergent and forms a cone and gives us a 3 dimensional image. During the CBCT scan, the scanning machine rotates around the patient’s head, similar to a CAT scan, and takes about 600 different images. These images are then reconstructed and a 3D voxel is produced from the data. Special software is needed to read these scans, but once loaded, they can be manipulated and visualized on a computer screen for diagnosis and planning.

How are we using this technology in our office? And why is this important? Like was stated earlier, we’ve been using these scans as part of our implant planning process. With the help of the CBCT scan, we are able to see sinus tracts, nerve channels and if there is any residual infection. One of the most important parts in relation to implant planning is to be able to see the health and density of the supporting bone. If the bone structure is not healthy or dense, than an implant will not integrate as well, and could fail. We consider all of these things, and having the CBCT scan is essential for these reasons. We also use CBCT scans to look at root canal teeth more closely. Two-dimensional x-rays only show about 30% of what is going on with teeth, and although they are an invaluable tool in the dental practice, the CBCT scan is able to show us so much more. We are able to see if there is any residual infection from an abscess. If this is the case then the bone structure could be compromised and an extraction and bone graft could be necessary.  Without the CBCT scan we are not able to see this as well.

We do not have the machine here in our office to be able to do them, but we work with a x-ray laboratory that is able to do them for us and get them back to us quickly. There are a few different locations in the greater Seattle area. If you have any further questions about this, please call the office at 206-728-1330.

Be well,
Richard Stickney DDS PS

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