Patient Education

Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

Dental cone beam computed tomography (CT) is a special type of x-ray equipment used when regular dental or facial x-rays are not sufficient. CBCT produce a three dimensional (3-D) images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and bone in a single scan.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

Dental cone beam CT is commonly used for treatment planning of:

  • Surgical planning for impacted teeth.
  • Diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
  • Accurate placement of dental implants.
  • Evaluation of the jaw, sinuses, nerve canals and nasal cavity.
  • Detecting, measuring and treating jaw tumors.
  • Determining bone structure and tooth orientation.
  • Locating the origin of pain or pathology.
  • Cephalometric analysis and orthodontics
  • Reconstructive surgery.
  • Image accuracy

The images are dimensionally accurate; non-magnified and measurements are taken at a 1:1 ratio.

In the Province of Alberta dental x-ray equipment and facilities, as well as dental lasers are governed by the Radiation Protection Act and Regulation. These documents specify that owners and staff have certain obligations to ensure the health and safety of themselves, their patients and the public.

Those dentists who operate CBCT must undertake a course in CBCT in order to operate a CBCT unit.

Jaw Bone Loss and Deterioration

The goal of modern dentistry is to restore normal function, comfort, aesthetics, speech, and health to individuals who are missing teeth. Given that our population is both aging and growing, an increasing number of people are being affected by the loss of teeth. However, the more teeth a person is missing, the more challenging this task can become.

The most obvious effect of missing teeth is aesthetic. The way you look affects the way you feel, and the psychological and social consequences of tooth loss can also be profound. It’s not so much about teeth as it is about bone. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of bone in the jaw shrink, in height, width and volume. There is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss and an overall 4 millimeters decrease in height over the next few years.

Ability to chew and to speak can be impaired. The more teeth lost, the more function is lost. This leads to some particularly serious aesthetic and functional problems, particularly in completely edentulous (toothless) people.

Primary Teeth (Baby Teeth)

At birth people usually have 20 baby (primary) teeth, which start to come in (erupt) at about 6 months of age. They fall out (shed) at various times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted.

Primary Teeth
Primary Teeth
Permanent Teeth
Permanent Teeth