Why a CBCT scan is necessary before a dental implant procedure

Dental implants have transformed the way in which dentists can replace teeth that have been extracted or have fallen out due to extensive decay or damage. In replacing the missing tooth with a dental implant, dentists are able to fully restore both the function and appearance of the patient’s smile without pressure on any of the surrounding teeth.

The unique design of dental implants has definitively helped to anchor its position as a superior alternative to other tooth replacement solutions. Rather than being secured to other teeth in the way of a dental bridge, dental implants are a standalone artificial tooth that are connected to the patient’s jaw through a process called osseointegration. This is where the bone of the jaw grows around the base of the dental implant to hold it in place. However, since the implant is inserted directly into the jaw itself, images of the area are needed ahead of the procedure. One of the most common types of imaging used in the preparation and planning of dental implants is known as a CBCT scan.

What is a CBCT scan?

A CBCT scan refers to a Cone Beam CT scan. This digital imaging test uses x-rays and computer-processed x-ray information to create an intensely accurate, high-resolution visual image of your teeth and jaw. It is an alternative to a regular x-ray or CT scan and can be used ahead of planning many orthodontic treatments and dental procedures including the placement of dental implants.

Benefits of undergoing a CBCT scan ahead of receiving dental implants

There are various reasons why a CBCT scan is not only recommended but the best course of action when planning dental implants for a patient. As we know, dental implants are comprised of two components, one of which is a titanium post that is placed into the jaw bone and acts as the anchor for the dental implant. However, for the implant to be placed safely and without disruption to critical nerves or other important structures, it is essential for your dentist to be able to see where it will be located. This is where CBCT scanning comes in.

The CBCT scan will produce 3D cross-sectional images of the jaws and teeth which provide detailed information about the area which cannot be obtained just with a normal x-ray. This enables your dental implant dentist to assess where the implant post will be located and check that the bone is a suitable shape and density to regrow around it and secure it in place. It also minimizes the risk of problems like nerve damage occurring, making the entire process safer and more likely to succeed.

As an additional benefit, the cone beam CT is smaller, faster and safer than regular CT scans. This is because the cone-shape of the x-ray beam enables the radiation dosage required to be lower, and the time needed to scan the jaw is also reduced.

Do I need to do anything special before my CBCT scan?

A CBCT scan doesn’t require any special preparations. The process is very much like getting ready for a regular CT scan. You may need to remove anything that could interfere with the imaging, including metal objects such as hairpins, glasses and jewelry.

The procedure itself involves sitting or lying still while a motorized rotating arm moves the scanner around you. The process is non-invasive, and you will not feel a thing. As soon as the scan is complete, you will be able to return to your usual activities.

If you are considering dental implants and have further questions about CBCT scans, our reassuring and knowledgeable dental team would be happy to assist you. Please contact our offices with your query, or to schedule a consultation. Dr. Sam's Premier Dentistry -

CBCT scan, Dental Implants

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