We’ve all heard about computerized tomography (CT) scans and we normally think about the head or brain when a CT scan is mentioned. CT scans are also used to detect abnormalities in the body which include tumors and abscesses or conditions like heart disease, cancer, or emphysema. However, did you know that they can be used for dental applications as well? Today, we will talk about dental CT scans and why it is important to get one done

What is a dental CT scan?

Dental cone beam computed tomography (CT) scans are special x-ray equipment used when regular dental x-rays do not suffice. Like typical medical CT scans performed in a hospital or urgent care setting, dental CT scans provide health professionals a 3D-image of the body part being scanned. In this case, your jawbone, teeth, and also your airway. Dental CT scans are used in place of regular 2D dental x-rays (picture your dentist holding up your dental chart) when the dentist requires a more in-depth look when diagnosing various dental conditions. Since dental CT scans are used to diagnose dental conditions, they look different than typical CT scan machines or equipment. Patients normally are found in a standing position when dental CT scans begin to take images of the mouth and surrounding areas. However, there are also dental CT scans where the patient may be found in a sitting position. They are unlike typical medical CT scans that require a patient to lay flat on their back.

Why are dental CT scans important?

As briefly mentioned, dental CT scans are important because your dentist or other healthcare professional may need a more in-depth look when diagnosing a dental condition. They are important because they offer a precise image or view of your teeth likes its shape and dimension to help in detection and treatment planning. Not just for dental implant reasons, dental CT scans are also important to detect the source of infection and abnormal lesions like cysts, bone cancers, and tumors.

Common conditions that use dental CT scans

Other than for dental implant reasons, dental CT scans are often used to diagnose and treat sleep disorders like sleep apnea or snoring. Other common conditions that use dental CT scans are complicated root canals, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and surgical planning of impacted teeth to just name a few.


You may now be wondering what the average cost of getting a dental scan done. For dentists or other healthcare professionals, a dental cone beam computed tomography (CT) scan machine will typically cost between $150,000 to $250,000. With such a whopping number, you are probably now worried if the cost of the machine will bring the price up when getting one done as a patient. The average cost of a dental CT scan is anywhere between $200 to $500.

You may also now be wondering if your dental or health insurance will cover some of the cost of getting a dental CT scan. It depends on a variety of factors which include the type of plan you have both dental and/or health, pre-certification requirements, and diagnosis to only mention a few. Consider talking with your insurance provider for further information.

Dr. Ana Pesaturo earned her Masters Degrees in Healthcare and Business administration from the University San Martin of Colombia South America in 1991. She then completed her Advanced General Esthetic Dentistry residency program at the Community Smiles Dental Research Clinic in Miami, Florida, and her General Hospital Dentistry residency at Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio State. Dr. Pesaturo currently works as a private dentist in the Miami area and as a dental consultant in healthcare management. Read more at https://anapesaturo.com/about/meet-dr-pesaturo/