CBCT Imaging

added on: December 28, 2015

Your TMJ diagnosis and treatment require 3D imaging of the underlying anatomy to provide you the most effective and appropriate care.


Cone-beam computed tomography systems (CBCT) are a variation of traditional computed tomography (CT) systems. The CBCT systems used by dental professionals rotate around the patient, capturing data using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. These data are used to reconstruct a three-dimensional (3D) image of the following regions of the patient’s anatomy: jaw joints (TMJ’s); dental (teeth); oral and maxillofacial region (mouth, jaw, and neck); ears, nose, and throat (“ENT”), and the airway.

What are some typical uses of CBCT?

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

Temporomandibular joint

  • Osseous structures of TMJ
  • Relationship of condyle and fossa in 3D

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


  • Treatment planning for complex cases when 3D information needed to supplement (or substitute for) other imaging
  • Patients with cleft palate, impacted teeth, root angulation/resorption

Airway – Evaluate for adequate airway space; sleep apnea, etc.

What are the advantages of CBCT?

  • Lower radiation dose than medical CT
    • Equivalent to ~1 Full mouth series of radiographs (FMX) or 6-7 panoramic radiographs
    • Thyroid shield can be used in many cases
  • Comfortable for patient
    • Open environment – no claustrophobia
    • Patient seated, facing out
    • Only 20 second scan
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Images available almost immediately on screen
  • Images can be imported into other software
Posted In: Bite/TMJ