For a long time, dentists have been relying on standard x-rays for diagnosis and treatment planning for oral conditions in the skeletal and soft tissues, despite the devices not being very sufficient.

However, recent years’ technological advancements have seen the introduction of special x-rays that produces three-dimension images or information of your mouth, enabling more accurate diagnosis or treatment planning than the 2-D radiographs. The advanced CT-scans are more user-friendly and give exact details, making them an integral part of routine dentistry.

At Encino Dentist, we recommend a computerized tomography (CT) scans for routine dentistry. Applying this advanced technology advances the analytical limit for radiation security, patient ease, dental implant identification, and procedure development. We are proud to provide a safer, faster, and more accurate 3D imaging of your oral and maxillofacial structure.

What are CT-Scans?

CT, also known as computerized tomography, provides medical professionals with detailed and transparent information of the teeth and jawbones. Dental CT scans are different from the ones used for scanning the entire body because they operate like dental x-ray machines. A patient sits upright while an x-ray machine rotates around their skull to capture 3D images. The process is considered safe because it produces low amounts of radiation.

Note that CT scans are not used in all dental procedures. Dentists use technology when digital x-rays do not provide sufficient information to analyze, diagnose, and plan orthodontic and dental implant procedures.  Therefore, professionals shouldn’t recommend a CT scan without clear reasons for doing so. The presence of risk factors, symptoms, and treatment planning for particular complex dental procedures like implants require dental CT scans.

Once the dentist deems the procedure necessary, the scanning process is safe and quick. The oral surgeon or general dentist uses the images and information displayed on the monitor during image processing for enhanced diagnostic and treatment development decisions.

Technological Advancements in CT-Scans

Dental CT-scans were first introduced in the medical world in the 1970s but were only used in dentistry in 1987. The traditional technology use fan-shaped x-rays that move around as the patient advances in the machine. The technology advanced in the 90s resulting in cone-beam CT scans whose basis is light intensifier technology. This advanced technology uses cone-shaped x-ray beams enabling patients to remain still as the rays move around them.

The main difference between the older technology and the advanced one is that CBCT scans cut radiation exposure than CT, making them much safer. Additionally, they are compact and can be included in most dental practices more conveniently, enabling dental imaging to be done under the same roof.

How Encino Dentist Uses CT-Scans?

At Encino Dentist, a CT scan is the primary element before undertaking dental implant or orthodontic care. We use technology for diagnostic and procedural purposes. Some of the reasons our oral surgeons and dentists recommend CT scans include:

  1. Provide Accurate Measurements

Suppose you are to undergo bone grafting, jawbone augmentation, or implant surgery. In that case, we recommend a detailed CT scan to help our oral surgeons understand where and how to approach the surgery and the tools to use. The images generated from the scanning process give us the shape and the dimension of your jaw, making implant surgery precise.

Not everyone is an eligible candidate for a dental implant procedure. For this reason, we use CT scans to establish if you have adequate bone density for a dental implant or how much bone mass is left and what will be needed to qualify you for the treatment.

The issue is that once you lose a tooth and fail to replace it, the bone may begin to recede in these areas, and this will be a problem when undertaking dental implant treatment. Before placing the titanium screw-like posts on the jaws, the surgeon must determine if the bone can hold the implant. If it cannot, and the procedure is performed, it is going to fail. However, with a CT scan, the dentist can know whether you are a candidate or not, increasing dental implants’ success rate.

Our CT scanners give us three-dimensional images of your jaw and interior structure of your mouth, including the height, width, and depth of the jawbone. The information is used by the dentist to place your implant with precision. If you are undergoing jaw reconstruction or augmentation, the technology enables us to provide the most appropriate bone augmentation. Furthermore, they allow us to monitor how the augmented bone fuses with your natural jawbone.

On bone augmentation, CT scans help us find weak areas in your bones and other anatomical structures we need to be aware of before placing a dental implant. The level of information this advanced technology provides is what increases our success rate when it comes to complex dental surgical procedures.

  1. Diagnosis of Dental Disorders

When it comes to diagnosing tumors and oral cancers, dentists heavily rely on computerized tomography scanning to gather information. The images and data produced in the scanning process enable us to know the tumor’s location and size.

Similarly, we rely on new technology to diagnose and analyze airway sleep disorders.  A 3D airway analysis helps us understand this complex oral condition better than lateral cephalograms resulting in accurate analysis.

Advanced dental CT scans also help with orthodontic diagnosis. They capture all the radiographic information we need, thus giving a diagnosis with 60 seconds. The 3D visualization enables us to perform a more accurate diagnosis of your skeletal and dental asymmetries, providing us with a more accurate assessment, which results in better treatment.

Additionally, the advanced technology comes in handy on the issue of diagnosing impacted teeth. For the time we have applied CT scans on patients with impacted teeth, they have proven useful. CT scanning provides a precise evaluation of the pathology related ectopic tooth. It also helps with ectopic cuspids’ accurate location and helps us with treatment planning for a less invasive surgical procedure. We can make smaller incisions and lower the morbidity linked with these surgeries.

In other incidents, CT scans are used in identifying or locating the source of pain or pathology lesions. The technology is useful in detecting carious lesions and offers better results when evaluating the proximal lacerations. 

  1. Facial Trauma

If you have suffered facial trauma in sports or an accident, CT scans give us a more detailed picture of the damage done on your face or mouth and the best way to address the issue.

Keep in mind that this machine is also used in diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). Again, it’s used in the analysis of nasal cavities and sinuses.

Advanced dental CT scans operate just like video games. Two-dimensional screens give you an educated hint about 3D screens. At Encino Dentist, we apply this technology in diagnostic and treatment planning, giving us more detailed information such as the depth and degree of angles. This is enough indication that we are committed to delivering the best dentistry services with some of the best diagnostic technologies in today’s dental world. Besides, the machine enables faster diagnosis, allowing us to develop quicker and reliable treatment plans.

Preparation for a CT Scan

CT scanning procedures don’t require much prepping. Before the process begins, the dentist might request you to remove your hearings, glasses, nose and tongue studs, necklaces, or other accessories that may interfere with the scanning.

Note that the dentist might not ask you to remove removable dental works like dentures, but it’s good to bring them to the examination. This is because our oral surgeons or dentists might want to evaluate or assess them for more information. Again, if you are pregnant, be sure to inform your dentist about it.

Note that CT scanning is not a painful procedure, which means there is no need for injections or prepping. If you are undergoing scanning to determine your eligibility for dental implants, we might require you to bring a localization stent. You will wear this unique plate just like dentures. The plate contains makers which guide the x-ray beams during an examination. You don’t need to worry about wearing the scale because you will do it only for the time of scanning.

How does CT Scanning Work?

Advanced CT scanners are square and have an upright chair or movable table to sit or lay down for scanning. Some scanners will have a C-arm chair, an X-ray image intensifier fitted with a source, and a detector. Other CBCT machines will have a rotating gantry.

At the Encino Dentist, we use the latest technology of CT scans, which is the cone beam. When you come in for the procedure, the dentist conducting the examination will ask you to sit on the CBCT chair or lie on the table with your head static.

The C-arm or gantry rotates around your head at a 360-degree angle taking multiple pictures from different angles. The images are then reconstructed to produce a three-dimensional image.

During scanning, the scanner rotates around your head, producing at least 150 2-D distinct images. The images are then reconstructed to provide the dentist with detailed information about your dental problem.

Take note that you might need more than a single scan based on your reason for examination. However, on average, the procedure takes no more than 30 minutes.

Are CT Scans Safe?

As mentioned earlier, the old technology CT scans were risky because of emitting high radiation.  However, the new technology in CBCT scanners reduces the radiation significantly, making it safer for them to undergo the procedure.

Similarly, because the computerized tomography exam is performed only in your mouth, you are exposed to lower radiation than medical CT scans involving the entire body.

A standard CT scan produces radiation equivalent to the radiation always present in the environment. And because we use cone beam CT scans, which reduce radiation significantly, the radiation produced by this new technology scanner is equivalent to 6 to 30 days of radiation present in the environment. This means the latest technology creates a tenth or a fifth of the radiation emitted by conventional or old technology.

What to Expect After a CT Scan

Typically, there is no pain involved in a scanning procedure. It means after the examination, you can go home or back to your routines.

Aftercare isn’t needed in this treatment, so you don’t have to inquire about the dentist’s post-procedural instructions. Although the procedure is performed in your mouth, it doesn’t cause any side effects, making it okay to eat or drink as you usually do.

Although we don’t expect you to develop any complications, reach out to our office for further guidance if you experience any.

Benefits of this Advanced Technology

CT scans have less radiation compared to medical scans, painless, invasive, and accurate. Additionally, they enable your dentist to have a look not only in your mouth but also in the entire facial skeleton and the areas around your head and neck.

The technology enables orthodontists and pediatric dentists to design better strategies for enhancing tooth growth and placement in patients. The accurate imaging of TMJ and teeth makes an order more effective. The images produced by the scanners are used to evaluate teeth and bites with crowns or dental implants and reconstruct them.

Suppose you have a problem with your wisdom teeth, estimating their exact location and nearness to nerves and blood vessels can be challenging using conventional means. However, with CT scanning, the dentist can locate these teeth quickly and faster.

When it comes to infants, CT scans help dentists monitor the growth of teeth. Dentists can give precise estimates in advance on the permanent teeth’s size when they are likely to come and the position they are likely to take in the jawbone.

Find an Advanced Dental Practice Near Me

If you are wondering why CT scans are necessary during your routine dental visit, you should always ask your dentist or surgeon why they recommend it. Having a clear and detailed photograph of your teeth, bones, and nerves makes it easy to diagnose and design the right treatment. At Encino Dentist, we recommend CT scans because the technology has improved accuracy in dental practice diagnosis. Contact us today at 818-650-0429 for a free consultation about the procedure.