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Diagnosis and Treatment Planning Using CBCT Technology

By Curtis E. Jansen, DDS

Commercial Supporter: KaVo Dental

Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), which uses a fraction of the radiation dose of medical CT, offers general practitioners many advantages, some of which they may be unaware. Its use for diagnosis and treatment planning in tooth removal, implant, endodontic, orthodontic, temporomandibular joint disorder, and obstructive airway cases is well known. But general practitioners should know that beyond diagnosing fractures, tooth/ root anomalies, and assessing hard tissue before and after implant placement, this extraoral 3-dimensional technology can be used to perform more common diagnostic tasks, such as panoramic x-rays and bitewings. When used in place of intraoral sensors, it spares patients the discomfort of the rigid sensor. CBCT can also be used to help clinicians create digital versions of their conventional impressions and poured models for digital transmission to other dental team members. For practitioners who place implants—as an ever-increasing number are—CBCT provides the ability to do “top-down treatment planning” to offer patients restorative-based implant placement.


  • Discuss the primary uses of CBCT for diagnostic purposes in a general dental practice

  • Explain how CBCT is used for implant treatment planning

  • Understand the advantages of CBCT as part of the digital workflow

  • Address prospective concerns about radiation exposure

About the Author

Curtis E. Jansen, DDS
Private Practice, Monterey, California

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