The typical x-rays patients receive at their dental office are bitewings, periapical, and panoramic images. These are all two-dimensional images. Occasionally, these x-rays are insufficient to provide the required diagnostic information needed for subsequent treatment, and the dentist may require additional information in the form of three-dimensional imaging using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT).
The word “tomography” is a general term that describes any three-dimensional imaging technique that creates one or more thin section images or slices within a larger volume of anatomy that is free of overlap or superimposition from more superficial or deeper structures. Simply put, tomography, in the form of CBCT, permits a dentist to view the teeth and jaws in a clearer, more detailed manner.
Contemporary acquisition and display of tomography is now almost exclusively computer-driven, and the current standard of care for tomography in dentistry is CBCT.
Examples of common referral reasons for CBCT imaging include: