Dental technology has come a long way since the time-consuming, painful x-rays that you probably remember from when you were a child. While x-rays can provide basic information about what is happening beneath the surface of your teeth, they are limited in what they can tell a dentist about the true health and structure of your mouth. This is because they only provide one angle, which can obscure underlying conditions or prevent an accurate diagnosis from being made. For this reason, Dr. Sandra Moldovan in Beverly Hills, CA recommends that her patients receive dental CT scans. Below, she answers commonly asked questions about this effective imaging technology.
What is a dental CT scan?
The best way to think of a dental CT scan is this: whereas an x-ray gives a 2-dimensional image, a CT scan gives us a 3-dimensional image of your mouth. A dental cone beam CT scanner uses a combination of x-ray images and computer processing to generate these 3D cross-sectional images. This enables Dr. Moldovan to accurately view within your jawbone, each individual tooth, and your airway. They can be extremely useful in accurately diagnosing dental issues and planning the proper treatment strategy for a patient.
When would a dental CT scan be needed?
There are several indications that may lead to the need for a CT scan. When we are able to view the exact dimensions of your teeth and jaws, see the extent of an infection or abscess in a tooth, or visualize abnormal growths such as lesions, tumors, or cysts, we are better able to provide the highest quality of care with the best chance of recovery possible. Common reasons for getting a dental CT scan include:
- Monitoring a child’s oral growth and development
- Planning the location of one or more dental implants prior to surgery
- Evaluating teeth for a root canal treatment
- Determining how badly a tooth is infected and whether it is treatable or broken beyond repair
- Planning treatment for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders or other issues with the jaw or joints
- Determining the extent of periodontal disease and decay
- Diagnosing suspected disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea
- Investigating suspicious lesions or lumps to determine what they are and if they are cancerous
Is it safe? What about the radiation?
Cone beam CT scans have, on average, about 10 percent of the amount of radiation that conventional x-rays do. This is due to the cone shape of the x-ray beam. A little-known fact is that there is x-radiation always present in our environment, and we are continually exposed to very low doses of it, which is called “background radiation.” A cone-beam CT scan exposes you to a dose of radiation that is approximately equivalent to six to 30 days of background radiation.
With the reduced radiation exposure in comparison to traditional x-rays, the benefits of the CT scan outweigh the risks in the vast majority of patients. It has the additional benefit of reducing the time needed to take the scan as well!
How much time does the procedure take?
About 20 seconds! One of the reasons patients love CT scans is that they are quick, painless, and easy. Bite-wing x-rays can be uncomfortable and need to be held in a precise location in the mouth, where they can cut into your gums while you wait for the x-ray to be taken. With a dental CT scan, you do not need to hold anything in your mouth. You simply sit still while the image is being taken.
How long does it take to get the results?
No time at all! The results are instantly available. Dr. Moldovan is able to view the results digitally and enhance them for an even more detailed look at what is happening in your mouth. She can also integrate the CT images with diagnostic and treatment software to provide the most precise care possible.
How do I schedule an appointment with Dr. Moldovan?
Whether you need a routine dental check-up and professional cleaning or are in pain from a dental issue, Dr. Sandra Moldovan has the skill and expertise to comfortably and effectively treat you. Her dental practice is located at 465 N Roxbury Drive, #911, Beverly Hills, CA, and can be reached at (310) 692-7855.