At one point or another, you may have had an X-ray taken. In orthodontics, a modern and helpful tool is used called Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT). This type of image allows the doctor to visualize intricate structures inside the mouth such as root canals, and abnormalities such impacted teeth and root resorption. We can see these areas in three dimensions – without surgery! Having accurate information about the position of your teeth and jaw helps your orthodontist determine exactly where and how the teeth should be moved. This can also help reduce invasive procedures and shorten treatment time for patients.
So how exactly does the Cone Beam CT work? First remember, an X-ray is similar to a still picture. Now think of a flip book with a series of pictures, each with a small difference. When you rapidly flip through the book, it creates an animation, showing the still object from different perspectives. If we had a flip book with different perspectives of the same still subject, it would resemble a 3D model. The CBCT scanner uses a rotating image device that moves around a patient’s head taking 150-600 different views in under a minute! A computer then processes these into a virtual 3D model for your orthodontist to analyze. Due to this wonderful technology, orthodontists are able to have more information at their fingertips, which helps them make better decisions for their patients.
– Dr. Michael Gorlovsky