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3D CBCT scans

CBCT scanners produce 3D images which are used to help plan the precise placement of implants. The scan produces a collection of detailed images (similar to X-rays) of your mouth and jaw.


How does a CBCT scan work?

CBCT scanners send lots of X-ray beams from different angles to capture different images of the mouth and jaw. As they pass through the body, the strength of the beams are measured to determine the density of bone or tissue. A computer then uses this information to process the results and display them as detailed 3D images of the jaw.

Why are CBCT scans used for dental implants?

A normal X-ray can’t measure bone depth, thickness or density. 3D CBCT scans measure all three, plus the depth of bone near your nerve canals and sinus cavities. All of this information is presented to your dentist in a 3D view.

Using a 3D dental CBCT scan and examining the images from every direction helps your dentist to accurately plan the placement of your dental implants. It’s also an effective way to establish whether you’re suitable for dental implants. This is because it shows your dentist the exact bone depth, width, density and condition of your jawbone.

The benefits of a CBCT scan before implants

Dentists use CBCT scans as a diagnostic tool to make implant treatment as accurate as possible. They:

  • Allow your dentist to plan your implant placement with precision
  • Accurately determine whether you need a supporting treatment, such as a bone graft or sinus lift
  • Help determine what type of implant treatment might suit you best
  • Tell your dentist how deep, wide and dense the ridge of your jawbone is, meaning your dentist knows everything about your mouth before you start treatment
  • Shows where structures like your nerve canals and sinuses lie, which helps minimise any risks during the procedure

What happens when you have a CBCT scan?

The scanner is either shaped a bit like a large doughnut or a square. Unlike an MRI scanner, you don’t have to lie inside a tunnel. You’ll either sit or lay still on a bed or chair, depending on the machine, and the machine rotates around your head. The scan itself takes less than a minute, and your appointment will probably last around 10 minutes.

You don’t need to prepare anything before you have your CBCT scan. When you arrive for your appointment, you’ll be asked to take off anything that may interfere with the imaging process, such as jewellery, glasses, hair grips or hearing aids. If you wear dentures, you may need to remove these during the procedure.

If you’re claustrophobic or anxious, speak to your dentist. They will offer you the support and advice you need, and they’ll help put you at ease during the procedure.

Are CBCT scans safe?

CBCT scans are non-invasive and completely painless. They use more radiation than a normal X-ray, but considerably less than a conventional CT scan. The amount of radiation is very small and is unlikely to cause any long-term harm. Your dentist may not recommend you have a CBCT scan if you’re pregnant.

Contact your local implant practice

If you’re interested in implants or would like to find out more about CBCT scans, speak to your local Bupa Dental Care practice offering dental implants.

More about dental implants

Find out more about dental implants, supporting treatment and our Bupa Dental Implant Clinics.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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