General Dentistry |4 min read

Popular Questions About CBCT Scans

A woman getting a dental cone beam CT scan

Were you told you need a CBCT scan?

Have a few questions?

Here’s your quick guide on CBCT scans!

This covers:

If you have any questions along the way, call our Miami dentist.

What’s a CBCT scan?

CBCT stands for:

Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT).

Another term is dental cone beam CT scan.

The full definition:

A CBCT scan uses a particular type of imaging technology to capture 150+ images of your mouth at different angles. These are then digitally compiled into one three-dimensional (3D) image.

Here’s an example of a CBCT scan:

Two dental professionals evaluating a CBCT scan

What’s the difference between a CBCT scan and an x-ray?

Traditional x-rays and panoramic x-rays are two-dimensional (2D). They only show your teeth and surrounding structures.

A CBCT scan is much more detailed than an x-ray.

It displays all of the following at once:

  • Bone
  • Soft tissues
  • Nerves
  • Sinuses
  • Nasal cavity
  • Airway
  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Infections
  • Tooth root issues
  • Facial fractures or abnormal growths
  • Signs of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) disorder or other jaw problems

Is CBCT scan safe?

Yes, CBCT scans are safe.

Even though CBCT scans use radiation, it’s significantly less than traditional CT scanners.

What’s a CBCT scan used for?

Dental cone beam scans are used for many reasons, including:

  • Planning the placement of a dental implant
  • Preparing for a tooth extraction
  • Determining bone structure and tooth orientation
  • Planning for root canals or bone grafts
  • Identifying gum issues
  • Evaluating the jaw, sinuses, nerve canals, and nasal cavity
  • Diagnosing TMJ disorder
  • Detecting, measuring, and treating tumors
  • Locating the source of pain

Why you should say “Yes!” to a CBCT scan

There are countless benefits to getting a 3D scan before dental work.

Some of the top reasons are:

  • Higher-quality image: The focused x-rays beam reduces scatter radiation.
  • A complete evaluation: Your dentist will factor in anatomical features that x-rays and panos don’t show.
  • Accurate diagnosis: Feel confident knowing your dentist analyzed detailed information about your mouth to support their findings.
  • Precise treatment planning: CBCT are predominantly used to plan out procedures, especially dental implants.
  • Fewer complications: Your dentist can identify possible difficulties in advance and take steps to avoid or minimize the risk.
  • Successful outcomes: Receive dental care done right the first time with long-lasting results.

Additional bonus points:

  • The scan takes only seconds to complete
  • It’s painless and noninvasive
  • It’s safe
  • Most dental insurance plans cover it

How does CBCT work?

Getting a CBCT scan is comfortable, quick, and requires no special preparation.

A woman getting a CBCT scan at the dentist's office

A CBCT scanner looks similar to a panoramic x-ray. Not to be confused with an enclosed CT scanner.

Before the scan:

You’ll temporarily remove metal objects that could interfere with imaging. This includes jewelry, removable dental appliances, eyeglasses, and hearing aids.

You should also notify your dentist if you are or could be pregnant.


Your dentist will have you sit or stand in the middle of the scanning machine.

In some cases, they may have you rest your chin or bite on a piece of equipment to center and stabilize your face. Small earpieces may also be used to help keep you still.

Now the scan:

The machine rotates around your head and face.

For a full mouth x-ray, it takes between 20-40 seconds.

A partial x-ray focusing on one area takes less than 10 seconds.


It’ll take approximately seven minutes for the computer to create your 3D image.

Depending on your case, your dentist will either review your scan right away and create a treatment plan or follow up with you.

The good news:

There’s no downtime for you. You can return to normal activities (work, exercise, eating, drink) right away.

Are you looking for a modern dentist in Miami, FL?

Contact the Advanced Center for Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry.

Dr. Oscar Cascante utilizes CBCT scans because he wants you to receive the best dental care.

With CBCT scans, he can confidently give you an accurate diagnosis, the proper treatment plan, and a successful outcome.

Book a consultation to see if we’re the right fit for you.


Our office is located in Miami, FL… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…, and we happily welcome patients from the neighboring communities of Kendall, Pinecrest, The Falls, South Miami, and Coral Gables.