What is a CT Scan and Why Would I Need One for Dental Implants?

Having dental implants is a major dental procedure that requires a careful assessment of the condition of your jaw bone and teeth. Here you’ll find all the information you’ll need about CT scans and why they are a necessary step for your dental implant procedure.

What is a CT scan?

When we need to analyze your mouth and jaw in preparation for certain dental procedures such as dental implants, we use a dental cone beam CT (Computerized Tomography) scan. A dental cone beam CT scanner uses x-rays to produce computer-generated cross-sectional 3D images of your teeth and jaws, and is a more compact, faster and much safer version of a regular CT scanner.

Why should I have a CT scan?

The detailed images produced by a CT scanner will provide us with much more information than that provided by conventional x-ray equipment. These three-dimensional images allow us to see the exact shape of your teeth and jaws, allowing us to develop a fully personalized dental implant treatment plan specific to your needs.

What happens during a CT scan?

When undergoing a CT scan, you will be seated and carefully positioned in the CBCT (cone beam computerized tomography) machine. You will be asked to remain completely still while the machine moves around your head in a circular motion. As the machine moves, it will take detailed images of your jaw area.

How long does a CT scan take?

Each scan is completed relatively quickly, only taking a minute or so. However, as correct positioning is incredibly important, it is likely that the positioning stage will take longer than the time needed for each scan. More than one scan may be required to obtain a fully detailed image that allows us to assess your bone. The procedure will usually be completed in around 30 minutes.

How can I prepare for my CT scan?

You will be asked to remove all metal accessories such as glasses, hearing aids, hair accessories and facial jewelry before your scan. This type of examination does not require any form of injection or other special preparation.


What risks are involved in a CT scan?

As with all CT scans, you will receive a small x-ray dose – however, the received dose is considerably lower than that received from a conventional medical CT scan.

You will not feel any pain during your CT scan, although you will be required to remain absolutely still.

It is important that you inform your radiographer if you are, or might be pregnant.

Are there any alternatives to a CT scan?

In a word – no. A CT scan provides the most comprehensive and detailed images required for assessing your bone to develop your treatment plan, and to allow us to perform your procedure safely.

What happens after I’ve had my CT scan?

Once the scan has been completed, you can carry on with your normal daily activities. We assess the images obtained from your scan and begin to develop your treatment plan.

About the Author:

Dr Aust is married to Mrs Dr Aust and has two children and a dog Max.

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