Health Care Imaging

Dental CBCT

About the Examination

Dental CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) is a type of computed tomography (CT) technique, which uses x-rays, projected outwards in the shape of a cone, to produce medical images.

A Computerised Tomography (CT) scan, also known as a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan uses a mixture of x-rays and computer systems to create virtual ‘slices’ of the body without the need for invasive surgery, taking multiple images of internal organs, bones and soft tissue.

What is a Dental CBCT?

Dental CBCT uses CT technology to take up to 600 3D images of the patient, from the neck up.

During the procedure, a smaller version of a CT scanner rotates around the patient’s head, emitting x-rays in a cone shaped pattern. The images are not as comprehensive as those captured during a traditional CT scan, but they are more detailed than those produced during a digital dental x-ray.

What part of the anatomy is examined during a Dental CBCT?

Dental CBCTs can be used to examine the teeth, mouth, jaw, throat, neck and ears.

What conditions can be diagnosed by a Dental CBCT?

A dental CBCT may be used by dentists and doctors for a number of purposes:

  • Dental implant planning
  • Evaluating abnormal teeth, jaws and face
  • Assessment of the cleft palate
  • Diagnosis of cavities and root canals and dental trauma

Why is a Dental CBCT required?

Typically, a dental CBCT is only required when a traditional dental x-ray is not suitable or sufficient.

What are the benefits of a Dental CBCT?

A dental CT is a non-invasive, painless procedure, which produces detailed and accurate results quickly.

What are consequences if the suspected condition is undiagnosed or untreated?

Undiagnosed dental conditions can trigger complications and lead to additional disease if not treated.

Early detection of these conditions can increase the chances of successful treatment and recovery.

What are the risks and complications of a dental CBCT?

A dental CBCT is a relatively low risk procedure as it is non-invasive.

However, during a CBCT, patients are exposed to more radiation than in a typical x-ray as multiple images are taken. Any exposure to radiation can increase the risk of cancer; however the radiation dose for CBCT is considered low.

Is a special diet required before a dental CBCT?

There are no special preparations required for a dental CBCT.

What should a Patient Tell the Radiographer Before a dental CBCT?

You will need to tell the radiographer if you are pregnant or suspect that you might be pregnant

What to bring for a Dental CBCT

Your GP or specialist may ask you to bring along any medications or copies of previous x-rays you have. Everything else needed will be supplied by the radiographer.

What to wear for a Dental CBCT

You can wear your normal clothes, but you will need to remove any jewellery, eyewear or other metallic accessories or implants around your upper body as these will show up on x-rays and may distort the results.

How long will a Dental CBCT take?

The procedure will usually take less than 10 minutes to complete.

What does a Dental CBCT involve?

The procedure for a dental CBCT is extremely simple and involves the patient sitting, standing or lying down while the CT scanner rotates around their head.

After the patient has removed their jewellery, the technician will take them to the scanning area. The patient will then be asked to sit, or stand, depending on the type of scanner being used.

The patient will be asked to bite down gently on a plastic mouthpiece to ensure the head and jaw remain still while the scanner rotates around the patient’s head, taking multiple images.

Post dental CBCT Instructions

After the scan you will be able to resume normal activities immediately. The results of the scan will be sent to your doctor or you will be asked to pick them up

Can I Drive Home?

Patients are able to drive home after the scan.


FDA. (April 13, 2016). Dental Cone-beam Computed Tomography. In Medical X-ray Imaging. Retrieved from This Website

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