Cone Beam Scanner

Cone Beam Scanner

The Dental Cone Beam scanner uses Computed Tomography (CT) technologies to produce 3-dimensional images of the teeth, soft-tissues, bone, and nerve in just one scan. This is a special type of x-ray that’s often used when regular facial or dental x-rays just aren’t enough. It’s an excellent diagnostic tool that we use on many of our patients because it offers valuable and detailed information about the patient’s oral structures.

Though the dentist may ask you to remove dental devices prior to the Cone Beam scan, we recommend that you still bring retainers, prosthetics, or other dental appliances to the exam so that Dr. Christ or Dr. Nowicki can look at these appliances and examine them as well.

If there is any chance that you may be pregnant, be sure to inform the dentist prior to the scan.

How to Prepare for a Cone Beam Scan

This diagnostic technique requires very little preparation by the patient. Wear comfortable, loose clothing, and take off your jewelry before going in for the scan. The dentist may ask you to remove jewelry, or accessories that might interfere with the imaging process including:

  • Hearing aids
  • Hair pins
  • Eyeglasses
  • Jewelry
  • Removable dental appliances

What to Expect During a Cone Beam Scan

A Dental Cone Beam scan uses computed tomography (CT) to produce very detailed x-ray images that can then be stitched together to produce detailed 3-dimensional composite images of the teeth, gums, soft tissues, nerves, and bones in the cranium and the face. Though the technology is related to traditional CT machines, the Cone Beam scanner is advantageous in that it exposes patients to much lower doses of radiation than conventional CT scanners in hospitals. All of the most important facial structures can be mapped out in just one scan using the Cone Beam. At the Center for Dental Excellence East Lake, we use this technology when we want to create a very detailed treatment plan that requires absolute precision.

The Cone Beam scanner is not the same as conventional computed tomography. The Cone Beam machine was developed using CT technologies, but on a scale that is much smaller, easier to use, and more affordable for outpatients in a dental setting. With the Cone Beam CT machine, an x-ray beam is moved around the patient’s head to produce a series of extremely high-quality “views” or images. These images can be used by our dentists to diagnose and evaluate the progression of disease of the teeth, jaw, face, nasal, cavity, and sinuses.

During the procedure, you’ll be asked to stand upright while the arm of the machine rotates around the head 360-degrees. As the arm is moving, the machine captures images from different angles that will later be reconstructed by the software into a 3D image. You’ll be asked to be very still during this process, but once complete, our dentists will have a detailed, computer-generated model of your face that can be used to create an extremely precise treatment plan for reconstructive, cosmetic, or orthodontic procedures.


The Cone Beam CT machine is used primarily to create detailed and precise treatment plans for orthodontic, restorative, complex reconstruction and implant procedures. One of our dentists may need a Cone Beam CT scan for any of the following situations:

  • Surgical removal of impacted teeth
  • Treatment of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
  • Precise placement of dental implants in the patient’s jaw bone
  • Evaluation of cranial structures including the sinuses, nasal cavity, and nerve canals
  • Evaluation of the jaw
  • Mapping of the bone structure and the orientation of the teeth

For more information about the Cone Beam CT scanner and how this technology can benefit you, contact our staff at the Center for Dental Excellence East Lake.

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