What is Cone Beam Computed Tomography in Dentistry?

Advanced Family Dentistry Dr Sonny Kim | Reston Virgina | What is Cone Beam Computed Tomography in Dentistry


What is Cone Beam Computed Tomography in Dentistry?

You go to the dentist to get the best dental health treatment, and expect your dentist to have the latest knowledge and technology—like Cone Beam Computed Tomography, or CBCT, for advanced radiology imaging. Let’s look at what CBCT is and how it benefits you.

What is Cone Beam Computed Tomography?

A CBCT system is a non-invasive equipment that rotates around the patient’s head while capturing data from different angles using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. It takes images of the teeth, oral and maxillofacial region (mouth, jaw and neck), and the ears, nose and throat order to reconstruct a 3D image of the patient’s anatomy. The difference between computer tomography (sometimes known as a CT scan) and CBCT is the shape of the beam sent from the X-ray source. A CT system uses a fan-shaped beam or spiral scan, while the CBCT uses a cone-shaped beam.

Used increasingly by radiologists and dental professionals, CBCT aids in situations like planning a dental implant, visualizing abnormal teeth, investigating cavities, evaluating the jaw and face, diagnosing the need for a root canal, and viewing the damage from a dental trauma. It is also useful in diagnosis of TMJ and periodontal disease, orthodontics, and sleep apnea airway studies.

Because CBCT creates a 360-degree model of the patient, the dental professional can rotate the images, and even isolate and manipulate slices for closer analysis without the distortion that can occur with 2D images.

Related: US Food &Drug Administration Information on Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography

What are the Benefits of Cone Beam Computer Tomography to Me as a Patient?

CBCT gives your dentist the increased ability to see what’s going on in your body in order to make a more accurate diagnosis and help create a health plan for you. It does so by providing high-resolution 3D images, rather than the normal two-dimensional information you would get from a regular X-ray, to enable a dental professional to differentiate between the different types of tissues in the bone, teeth, nerves and soft tissues.

Since the CBCT system is so accurate and clear, useful images are gathered the first time, eliminating or reducing the need for additional scans and thus reducing radiation exposure. It is also fast. A full CBCT scan can be completed in fewer than 40 seconds.

It is important to note that your medical insurance will cover a CBCT scan if used for a medical purpose as opposed to a dental purpose. If it is used for a dental purpose, check with your dental insurance provider for coverage.


A CBCT unit delivers a lower radiation dosage than other CT exams; it is similar to a panoramic scan. To minimize radiation exposure, dental professionals normally only use the CBCT technology when it is required for an advanced diagnosis or treatment.

CBCT Used at Advanced Family Dentistry in Reston, VA

In order to provide the best dental care, Dr. Sonny Kim at Advanced Family Dentistry in Reston, Virginia is a passionate advocate of the advanced methods of dentistry and dental treatments. He utilizes Cone Beam Computer Tomography to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of certain dental conditions.

Advanced Family Dentistry provides children, adults and seniors with exceptional dental care ranging from general, preventive and cosmetic dentistry to dental implants and oral surgery. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Advanced Family Dentistry. We are glad to be your family dentist for life!

Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.

Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191
Phone: 703.390.9191
Email: drsonnykim@gmail.com
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