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:
- AAE/AAOMR Revised Joint Position Statement on Cone Beam Computed Tomography in Endodontics
- Dr. Terryl A. Propper's July 2015 President’s Message, "Commentary on the 2015 CBCT Position Statement"
- Dr. Mohamed I. Fayad's article in the January 2014 Communique, "Contemporary Endodontic Technology: Cone Beam Imaging in Treatment Planning"
- The Standard of Practice in Contemporary Endodontics (Fall 2014 ENDODONTICS: Colleagues for Excellence)
- Cone Beam Computed Tomography in Endodontics (Summer 2011 ENDODONTICS: Colleagues for Excellence)
- The Image Gently Campaign is designed to educate the dental community about the appropriate radiation techniques to use when imaging children