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CBCT is a digital x-ray scanner specifically designed for scanning the head and jaws. The scanner rotates 360 degrees around the patient’s head in a matter of seconds. The x-ray is a low energy fixed anode tube similarly used in panoramic (OPG) machines. The cone shaped x-ray provides 360 views that can be presented in 2D image and 3D volume for advanced planning and diagnosis.

The actual CBCT scan takes between 6 – 20 seconds (depending on the required scan size). The total appointment time (including registration, positioning, scanning, reconstruction, and scan verification) is less than 30 minutes.

  • Avoid wearing jewellery or metallic components like earrings, nosepin, necklaces, piercing, hairpins or eyeglasses and these should be removed. This may interfere with the scan results.
  • If you are currently using dentures you should bring these along as the technician may have you wear them during the scanning procedure
  • Sometime in certain cases it is possible that your dentist will ask you to bring along and wear a plastic stent or radiographic guide during the scan. This helps your dentist to identify the ideal position of the future dental prosthesis that is being planned for you.

Whenever 3 dimensional information is needed for the diagnosis, treatment planning, or management of conditions in the jaws and the maxillofacial complex.

CBCT is used by general dentists and specialists to improve diagnosis and treatment planning in the following cases:

Dental implants

  • Location of anatomic structures: mandibular canal, submandibular fossa, incisive canal, maxillary sinus
  • Size and shape of ridge, quantity and quality of bone
  • Number, orientation of implants
  • Need for bone graft, sinus lift
  • Use of implant planning software

Oral and maxillofacial surgery

  • Relationship of third molar roots to mandibular canal
  • Localization of impacted teeth, foreign objects
  • Evaluation of facial fractures and asymmetry
  • Orthognathic surgery planning

Oral and maxillofacial pathology

  • Localization and characterization of lesions in the jaws
  • Effect of lesion on jaw in 3rd dimension: expansion, cortical erosion, bilateral symmetry
  • Relationship of lesion to teeth and other structures


  • Treatment planning for complex cases
  • Patients with cleft palate
  • Impacted teeth
  • Root angulation, root resorption

Temporomandibular joint

  • Osseous structures of TMJ
  • Relationship of condyle and fossa in 3D
  • Lower radiation dose than medical CT
    • Equivalent to ~1 Full mouth series of radiographs (FMX) or 6-7 panoramic radiographs
  • Comfortable for patient
    • Open environment – no claustrophobia
    • Only 12 second scan
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Images available almost immediately on screen
  • Images can be imported into other software

The main differences between CBCT and medical (multi-slice) CT are:

  • Radiation dose:

Region scanned

  • Mandible
  • Region scanned

CBCT effective dose (µSv) ICRP 2007

  • 75.3
  • 110.5

Medical CT effective dose (µSv) ICRP 2007

  • 503*
  • 1,088.3*


  • Image resolution:For hard tissues and teeth, CBCT offers higher resolution and image sharpness compared to medical CT (Multi-Slice CT or MSCT).
  • Metal artifact reduction:CBCT offers better metal artifact reduction compared to medical CT. This is important because many patients have metallic crowns or restorations that cause streaking artifacts that may interfere with the visualization of the region of interest in a medical CT examination
  • Prompt appointments
  • Image viewing by referring clinician using DICOM CD with view software is available immediately after the scan
  • Written report by an experienced Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist, evaluating entire scan for pathology as well as for specific area of interes
  • PDF file of the Radiology report and images of interest are sent electronically (via email)