Can a CT Scan Show Dental Problems?
The dental field is continually evolving as new technologies allow for more accurate diagnosis and more advanced dental care. The dentists at The Smile Center in Virginia Beach, VA, rely on advanced technology to provide their patients with state-of-the-art dental care. CT imaging is one of the latest tools to be incorporated at our dental practice.
CT scans show dental problems and are a valuable asset when planning advanced dental treatments, such as oral surgery. Our dental team is happy to help patients understand how a CT scan may be a beneficial part of a dental exam of restorative dentistry treatment.
What Is a CT Scan?
A CT scan is a type of imaging technology that has been used in the medical field for over 35 years. The machine combines multiple computer-processed X-rays to produce precise high-resolution 3D images. A CT scan allows doctors and dentists to view a patient’s internal structure from all angles. A CT scan offers more information than traditional two-dimensional images, providing our dentists with a 360-degree visual of the patient’s head, jaw, teeth, and root system.
How Are CT Scans Used in Dentistry?
CT scans have long been used by doctors to diagnose medical conditions such as broken bones, blood clots, internal bleeding, brain and spinal cord injuries, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. More recently, CT scans have been used in the dental field for diagnoses and procedures that can benefit from optimized 3-D visualization.
The dentists at The Smile Center may use CT imaging when diagnosing dental problems such as cysts, anatomical abnormalities, orthodontic issues, bone fractures, and root canals. Many of these problems fail to show up on traditional X-rays or are difficult to diagnose accurately without 3-D imaging.
CT scans are also used by our dentists when planning some dental procedures. CT images provide the exact location of the sinuses, the alveolar nerve, and the jawbone ridge. Detailed anatomical images are beneficial when planning oral surgery for tooth extraction, dental implants, or other dental restorations.
What to Expect During a CT Scan
CT scans provide more details than traditional X-rays, but the procedure is no more invasive. Many of our Virginia Beach patients find that a CT scan is actually easier and more comfortable than X-rays.
When taking X-rays, patients are asked to repeatedly bite down on “wings” that are bulky and uncomfortable. During a CT scan, nothing is inserted in the mouth. Instead, the patient sits comfortably in a chair while the CT machine circles their head. The head is never fully encased, so patients can see their surroundings at all times. The entire process takes around 20 seconds and is entirely non-invasive.
You may be an ideal candidate for a CT scan if you are suffering from oral pain or other uncomfortable symptoms that indicate a dental problem. The dentists at The Smile Center use CT imaging when diagnosing certain oral health concerns and creating appropriate treatment plans. To learn more about the benefits of CT scans, send us a message online or call our Virginia Beach dental practice at (757) 473-8482.