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Understanding the Difference Between Digital X-Rays and CBCT Scanners

Understanding the Difference Between Digital X-Rays and CBCT Scanners

Most people are familiar with X-rays. Whether you got an X-ray for a broken arm or a cracked tooth, you probably know that traditional X-rays use radiation to detect anomalies inside your body or mouth. The doctor or dentist places a piece of film behind or under your teeth or a suspected fracture and directs radiation at the area. 

Your soft tissues don’t absorb the radiation, so it passes through them and exposes the film, which looks black after it’s been developed. Your teeth and bones absorb the radiation, so the film in those areas doesn’t get exposed, and these areas appear white. The resulting image can reveal cracks and breaks in bones and teeth.

But times have changed, and newer technology has given rise to better imaging that’s safer and more informative.

At Innovative Dental Ideas, Dr. James E. Butler leads the field in dental imaging and offers our patients the most advanced technology available. If you live in or around Hilliard, Ohio, you owe it to your smile and oral health to take advantage of these extremely accurate diagnostic tools. 

Here, Dr. Butler explains how digital X-rays and CBCT scans compare.

The latest digital dental imaging technology

Traditional film X-rays have served dentistry for several decades, and many dentists still use them today. However, like all industries, dentistry has evolved, and so has the technology we use to keep your smile healthy. 

At Innovative Dental Ideas, Dr. Butler uses two of the most advanced instruments because they allow him to make a more accurate diagnosis and deliver more precise treatments. The newest X-ray technologies — digital X-rays and CBCT scans — are each used in different situations and offer different types of images.

Digital X-rays

General full-mouth X-rays still play an important role in your overall dental care. We capture a complete set of images for all new patients so we don’t miss any underlying problems. But, we’ve ditched the old-school film and the processing it requires. In its place, we offer digital X-rays.

The advantages of digital X-rays over their film-type predecessor are significant:

Digital X-rays help Dr. Butler detect a wide range of problems. He may order a digital X-ray to:

To capture these images digitally, we place a sensor in your mouth, but don’t worry — it’s much smaller, smoother, and more comfortable than the old film versions. It only takes a couple of minutes, and the images are ready instantly.

CBCT scans

CBCT stands for cone beam computed tomography, which essentially means that the radiation used to capture the image is precise and targeted, and it results in a computerized 3D image. 

Unlike digital X-rays, the CBCT scan includes more than just your teeth and jawbone; it also includes the soft tissues, airways, and nerve paths in your mouth. 

Dr. Butler uses the CBCT scan when he needs to:

The CBCT scanning process is simple: You just sit still in the chair while a machine rotates around your head. It only takes a few seconds, and you don’t feel a thing.

The bottom line is that both digital X-rays and CBCT scans create images quickly using far less radiation than traditional X-rays (which was minimal to begin with). The main difference is that the CBCT scan delivers 3D images of both bone and soft tissues that may be necessary for certain conditions, diagnoses, and treatments. 

To make sure you’re getting the very best in advanced dental care, schedule an appointment at Innovative Dental Ideas. Call us or book online at your convenience.

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