When it comes to issues like dental pain, the problem is not always so easy to confirm after a visual exam. In certain cases, digital X-rays are also needed, especially if an infection is present. However, X-rays can only go so far in diagnosing dental pain. This is where a CBCT (or cone beam computerized tomography) scanner can be incredibly useful for patients and dentists alike. Keeping reading to see how a CBCT scanner can help your dentist find the root cause of your dental pain.
CBCT Scans Compared to Traditional X-Rays
One of the biggest differences between traditional X-rays and scans from a CBCT machine are the dimensions of the image captured. X-rays can reveal a lot about the condition of your tooth and bone health, but they only take images in two dimensions. The CBCT can essentially create a 3D cross-section of your mouth, giving dentists a lot more information about your unique oral structures and any pain that’s present.
When an infection develops, it damages the center of the tooth where the pulp and blood vessels are located. Following the development of this infection, you’ll start to notice substantial dental discomfort that’s impossible to ignore. When using standard X-rays, it’s possible for the tooth to appear normal depending on the angle the X-ray machine was capturing the mouth from. With the help of a CBCT scanner, dentists can view teeth from angles that would not otherwise be possible, ensuring the source of pain can be confirmed and a treatment plan can be created.
The jaw is a complex bone responsible for many specific movements. Inside it are two joints (one on either side of the skull) known as temporomandibular joints. These allow several movements we don’t think about day-to-day, such as when chewing food, speaking, yawning, and even smiling. If they become overworked or injured, it can cause chronic jaw, mouth, and facial pain. In certain cases, standard X-rays aren’t enough to provide a detailed diagnosis of a potential jaw problem, such as TMD (or temporomandibular disorder).
It’s true that standard X-rays are capable of locating root fractures in teeth, but they don’t offer the same level of accuracy and detail that CBCT scanners can. In fact, one study showed the sensitivity of CBCT images for the detection of root fractures was 89.5%, or much higher than that of a dental X-ray (approximately 26.3%). There’s a reason why endodontists (or dentists who specialize in treating diseases that affect the pulp of teeth) will often recommend CBCT scans when determining the severity of damage to the root.
Like many advancements in dentistry, CBCT scanners work to help you get out of dental pain faster by effectively and efficiently finding the source of your discomfort. If you’re suffering from dental discomfort and aren’t sure why, get in touch with a dentist today!
About La Plata Dental
Dr. Hochman and Dr. Betaharon are highly trained to perform detailed diagnoses and treatments for dental pain. They make use of the latest dental technology to accomplish this as well as their many years of clinical expertise. If you’re suffering from dental pain and don’t know where to turn, they are prepared to go over your symptoms and create a plan personalized to you. To schedule an appointment, you can contact them through their website.