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CT scans go beyond the traditional dental X-ray to provide your dentist with a 3-D look at the structures and tissue in your mouth with just one scan. Although CT scans are common in dental specialty care, patients are less likely to encounter them at their general dentist’s office. At Bella Smiles Dentistry in Puyallup, WA, we’re pleased to offer this technology to our patients as part of our commitment to making the latest advances in care the norm in our practice. Here is what you need to know about the use of CT scans in your dental care.

What type of CT scans is used by dentists?

Dentists use dental cone beam CT technology, which consists of a square scanning machine with a chair or table for on which patients can sit during the scan. The scanner has a rotating arm that moves in a full circle around the patient, taking images from different angles that will be compiled to make one final 3-D image. The image is much more detailed than a traditional X-ray and includes your jaw, nasal cavity, soft tissue, lymph nodes, teeth, and nerves. Dental cone beam CTs use less radiation than the traditional CT scans used in other medical disciplines.

Why are CT scans used?

CT scans are used by dentists for diagnostics and treatment planning. Your dentist may recommend a CT scan to place dental implants, plan surgery for impacted teeth or reconstructive treatments, and examine the parts of your mouth for signs of disease or injury. CT scans are frequently used by orthodontists to create a treatment plan, and they can also be used to diagnose jaw tumors and to track the effectiveness of tumor treatment.

What should I expect during a CT scan?

CT scans are completely painless. They take less than a minute to complete in most cases. During the scan, you’ll be asked to sit in a chair or lie on a table and remain completely still. After the exam is over, your dentist will discuss the results with you so you can make decisions about your care.

ct scan