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If you ever wonder if CT scans are really necessary during a visit to your dentist, the answer is most definitely if your orthodontist believes it to be. Having a perfect photograph of your teeth, nerves and bones enables the dentist or orthodontist to better diagnose your tooth problem and allows a greater degree of accuracy than merely looking into the mouth.
X-rays used to be black and white two-dimensional photographs until the CBCT or Cone Beam Computed Tomography has been invented. CBCT is the newest type of Computer Assisted Tomograph or CAT scan that provides three-dimensional copies of images. This is a milestone in the medical world which greatly helps both medical and dental doctors in diagnosing their patients more accurately.
With the help of CBCT, dentists can look not only inside the mouth (teeth, jaws and gums) but also at the whole facial skeleton and areas of the head and neck in clear detail. Orthodontists, as well as paediatric dentists, will also be able to create better strategies for improving their patient’s teeth growth and placement through the CBCT equipment. Precise imaging of the teeth, the bite and the temporomandibular joints make tooth replacements easier. CBCT is also used to analyse teeth and bites with crowns and implants as well as to rebuild them. As for wisdom teeth, their exact location and proximity to nerves are very well captured by the CBCT, finding your wisdom tooth and other impacted teeth easier and faster. It is also easier to determine or find fractures during accidents and traumatic experiences through the machine. The smallest root canals and accessory root canals can also be detected using the CBCT that the normal two-dimensional x-ray cannot. The life of teeth is prolonged through the ability of the machine to look into the bones that connect the gums and teeth, hence the precise and early diagnosis.
CBCT or other CT scans for that matter can also assist dentists to detect the growth of infants’ teeth. Dentists will most likely be able to estimate in advance the size of the permanent teeth when they will come and in what position they are likely to grow.
Should you be afraid of undergoing a dental CT scan?
The answer of course is no. Having a CT scan may be uncomfortable for some people but it is not painful. You will just be uneasy for a few minutes but no more than that.
CT scans should make the patients more confident that their dentists have accurate results and therefore can provide the best solutions to their problems. Furthermore, CBCT is also really doing a great job in increasing this confidence level and preventing diseases or other tooth problems from coming back.
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