Cone beam computed tomography is an innovative medical imaging technique that provides endodontists with three-dimensional views of the patient. In certain cases, CBCT greatly enhances the endodontist's ability to diagnose, evaluate, treat and care for patients.
During a CBCT scan, the machine rotates around the patient, capturing images using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. These images are then used to construct a 3-D representation of the patient's teeth, oral and maxillofacial region (mouth, jaw and neck), and ears, nose and throat.
In 2015, the AAE and the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology issued a revised joint position statement on the use of CBCT in endodontics. The joint statement, an update from 2010, takes into account scientific literature from the past five years as well as research that indicates the effectiveness of 3-D imaging for endodontic diagnosis and treatment. The statement provides 11 specific recommendations and supporting evidence for when CBCT should be considered, and emphasizes that CBCT should not be used routinely for endodontic diagnosis or screening in the absence of clinical symptoms. Consistent with the principles of ALARA - keeping patient radiation doses "as low as reasonably achievable" - the statement notes that the patient's history and clinical examination must justify the use of CBCT.
To learn more or share information with your referring dentists about CBCT and the AAE/AAOMR 2015 position statement, view the following AAE resources:
The AAE's Live Learning Center also offers presentations on CBCT from AAE15 and other past meetings (available to subscribers for CE credit).
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